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Trent University | Agri-food and Agriculture

Key facilities

Sustainable Agriculture Experimental Farm: The Farm is a 33-acre living laboratory located on Trent’s Symons Campus. The Farm allows researchers and students to work together to cultivate the land and have exceptional hands-on experiences, as they work to advance the study of sustainable agriculture in real-time.

The DNA Facility: The DNA Facility is a multi-purpose facility housing a DNA sequencing and profiling lab; a Bio-containment level II facility; an ancient DNA lab; and other State-of-the-art equipment and laboratories.

Aurora Research Greenhouse: The Greenhouse is designed to provide an unparalleled environmental performance in the control of temperature, humidity, air velocity and light intensity.

Major collaborations

Development of a Genetic Test to Distinguish Broilers from Spent Layers for the Poultry Industry: Led by Dr. Brad White, this project provides DNA-Based analytical services to determine food purity and source, monitoring of endangered, invasive and other controlled species, identification of industrial fouling and assessment of environmental impacts.

Develop techniques that will help simplify selection breeding of large populations: Led by Neil Emery, this project was designed to generate genetic markers indicating higher soybean yields, which will lead to a more efficient selection process and more efficient land resource use.

Interseeding cover crop options for grain corn and their effects on soil health in southern Ontario: Led by Dr. Tom Hutchinson, the objective of this project is to assess the contribution of interseeding cover crops to long‐term profitability of corn production in Ontario through their effects on soil health, nitrogen use efficiency, and residual soil nitrate reduction at harvest.


Dr. Neil Emery, Vice-President Research and Innovation. Research focuses on the physiology of organ specific processes and how they interact at the whole-plant level. The results have implications for crop farming practice and the well-being of natural ecosystems.

Dr. Barry Saville, Associate Professor. Barry is an Expert in Microbial forensics and plant pathogen forensics.

Dr. Catherine Eimers, Associate Professor. Research focuses on the impacts of climate and land use change on soil and water resources.

Dr. Karen Thompson, Associate Professor. Karen’s background is in using microbial indicators to assess soil health.

Dr. Tom Hutchinson, Professor Emeritus & Part Time Instructor. Agricultural research interests include concerns about the loss of genetic resources in livestock, use of heritage livestock breeds in sustainable agriculture, and in past and present efforts of sustainable farming systems.

Special programs and work integrated learning initiatives

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems (SAFS) Program – The SAFS program offers a wide range interdisciplinary agriculture-related courses, in both the Arts and Science streams. Students are provided experiential learning opportunities both on Trent’s campus Experimental Farm and Greenhouse project and with University Partners


  • Grain Farmers of Ontario
  • Nutri-Ag ltd.

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