Assiniboine's Prairie Innovation Centre receives $500K gift from local industry partner, Mazergroup Ltd.

A New Holland combine in the middle right section of the photo moves along a field with a yellow gold crop.

Assiniboine’s Prairie Innovation Centre for Sustainable Agriculture is welcoming a $500,000 donation from a Westman-born agricultural staple, Mazergroup.

"Mazergroup continues to have a long history of cooperation with the college for training our people, so this funding commitment just feels right,” said Bob Mazer, president and CEO of Mazergroup. “Assiniboine is a great school with great staff and facilities, and we are proud to be partners in working toward a better future in agriculture.”

The Prairie Innovation Centre will enable more unique work-integrated learning opportunities, applied research projects and industry innovation. The Centre is Assiniboine’s vision for the future of agriculture in Manitoba, and will address industry and economic needs in this important sector.

“Our college has a critical role in ensuring there are people trained and ready to step into careers in the growing agriculture sector. The Prairie Innovation Centre will answer the call, arming agriculture in Manitoba with a skilled labour force,” said Mark Frison, president of Assiniboine.

Industry support and partnership is key to advancing a project like this. Mazergroup is an important part of the agriculture industry and of the Westman community. I look forward to continuing to work with them toward common goals, and I thank them for this strong show of support.

In Manitoba, it’s projected that one in five jobs in agriculture will go unfilled by 2025. For Mazergroup, the largest New Holland dealer group in North America, this is notable. The Prairie Innovation Centre is Assiniboine’s made-in-Manitoba solution.

“Human resources are the most difficult piece, but also the backbone of a business like ours,” said Mazer, who is an honorary co-chair of the Prairie Innovation Centre campaign.

Most Mazergroup employees have some link to Assiniboine, and that’s a big reason why we decided to contribute to the Prairie Innovation Centre project. Dozens of our staff have made better lives for themselves and their families because of the training and education they received at Assiniboine.

Mazer, a past chair of the college’s Board of Governors and recipient of an honorary diploma has a history of supporting college students and programs. Mazergroup provides an entrance award each year to students in both the Agriculture Equipment Technician and Heavy Duty Technician programs, and has loaned agricultural equipment to these programs for hands-on learning opportunities.

“Agriculture is a crucial contributor to the Manitoba economy,” said Frison.

Working with local industry is key to ensuring this sector can reach its full potential.

The Prairie Innovation Centre, which aims to expand seats in agriculture-related programming from 300 to more than 800, will be located at Assiniboine’s North Hill campus in Brandon.