Agriculture innovations help fight climate change, protect food security
August 17, 2022 - Victoria, British Columbia - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
B.C. companies continue to develop and adopt agritech to create new products and farming processes that will help famers mitigate the impacts of climate change and boost the province's food security and food economy.
The governments of Canada and B.C. are supporting 10 new projects with more than $1 million through the Canada-British Columbia Agri-Innovation Program (CBCAIP) to help fight climate change, address labour shortages, increase profitability and increase adoption of regenerative agriculture practices. The program is administered by the B.C. Investment Agriculture Foundation.
Dicklands Farms FLP in Chilliwack is receiving $165,000 to help design and develop a low-emission dairy barn that will capture and clean barn air, and control barn temperature and humidity. By combining cutting edge, commercially available technologies, Dicklands Farms aims to lower greenhouse gas emissions from the dairy sector, while giving dairy farmers the ability to control the environment inside their barns, keeping their cows healthy and safe during extreme weather events and increasing productivity.
Docantheon Horticulture is developing a three-wheel electric powered mini-tractor prototype that allows the operator to lie face down as it rolls slowly down field rows and perform planting, hand weeding or harvesting tasks. Located in Victoria, Ross Borden is receiving $15,000 to build the machine, named “Zero” as it requires zero extra bed space to operate and zero bending to plant, weed, and harvest. The goal of the “Zero” is to help reduce worker fatigue while increasing productivity.
Okanagan-based Geotronics Consulting Inc., in partnership with Vintality Tech Inc., is receiving $192,022 to develop a new technology to reduce irrigation in vineyards. The technology will reduce the amount of water used, while maintaining vine health and grape quality. Using a combination of precision viticulture sensor technology with new developments in wireless and mesh networking, the system will allow real-time tracking of water use through sub-soil mapping. This technology could also be applied to other farmed crops that use automatic watering systems, once validated and commercialized.
Projects under the Canada-British Columbia Agri-Innovation Program have received more than $11.3 million in funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The partnership is a five-year $3-billion commitment by Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada's agri-food and agri-products sectors. This includes a $2-billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 per cent federally and 40 per cent provincially/territorially for programs designed and delivered by provinces and territories.
“Our agricultural producers are the first to feel the effects of climate change and, together with many partners, they are strongly committed to developing and adopting tools and practices to make agriculture increasingly sustainable. These projects are prime examples of the kind of leadership they are demonstrating that will help us achieve our emission reduction targets. I look forward to seeing these innovative ideas spread throughout British Columbia and elsewhere in Canada!”
- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“We are seeing innovative and cutting-edge solutions being developed in the B.C. agritech industry with funding through this program in response to issues such as climate change, labour shortages and food security. The collaboration between technology and agriculture is creating new opportunities for B.C. farmers and helping to grow and strengthen our provincial food system for future generations.”
- Lana Popham, B.C.'s Minister of Agriculture and Food
“Consumer demand is changing, and environmental sustainability is becoming increasingly important. The idea behind this barn is to create a way for BC’s dairy industry to dramatically reduce its carbon footprint by eradicating greenhouse gas emissions from enteric fermentation. This project wouldn’t have been possible without the generous funding support from the Governments of Canada and BC and BC Dairy Association’s Dairy Industry Research & Education Committee.”
- George Dick, farm manager, Dicklands Farms
“The development of the "Zero" electric prone tractor is progressing well this summer, thanks to the financial support of the Canada-BC Agri-Innovation Program. It should save a lot of bent-over labour (and sore backs) during garlic planting this fall.”
- Ross Borden, designer and fabricator, Docantheon Horticulture
"We're very excited about this project and work with the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC. This funding has allowed us to hire a full-time employee dedicated to the project and get our technology trialed in vineyards. At a time when water-use is coming under justified scrutiny, we feel our project will allow more sustainable and profitable farming in B.C. and around the world."
- Christopher Mark, general manager, Geotronics Consulting Inc.
The Canada-British Columbia Agri-Innovation Program aims to advance innovation, competitiveness, sustainability, productivity, and resiliency within the agricultural sector in B.C.
The program defines agricultural innovation as products, practices, processes, or technologies that are new to British Columbia and that will enhance the competitiveness, sustainability, productivity and/or resiliency of the sector.
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