The George Morris Centre (GMC), an economic and policy think tank for the agri-food sector, has developed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with wetlands conservation groups Ducks Unlimited Canada, Ontario region.

It stipulates that each organisation will give the other first priority to participate in projects of a mutual interest. Ducks will give GMC first priority to participate in projects requiring third party strategic and economic research and analysis. GMC will give Ducks first priority to participate in projects relating to water habitat conservation and will invite DUC to participate in the development of "think tank" papers on related issues.

The agreement brings together two parties who, historically, have been perceived as being at cross purposes: agriculture and the environment. Ducks and agricultural interests have often found themselves on opposite sides of the fence on a variety of issues relating to land uses and management.

GMC research associate Cher Brethour insisted however, "It's a natural fit.

"We have a number of mutual interests with Ducks Unlimited. We are both organisations committed to providing solid, relevant and actionable research to decision makers, and we're both committed to improving agricultural productivity while maintaining the environment."

Jim Anderson, Ducks' policy advisor for Ontario, agreed: "Our whole strategy is to work cooperatively with landowners to implement land management practices that conserve or restore habitat, but are also economically viable to producer operations.

"Our relationship with the GMC gives us access to expertise in agricultural economics, and will help us to ensure that our public policy initiatives reflect an economic as well as a resource management perspective."