July 19, 2019

Transforming farming through innovation

$49.5 million awarded to Alberta Innovates and its partners in Strategic Innovation Fund competition

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, July 22, 2019 – Alberta Innovates, along with its partners, are announcing their successful application for the Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN). This Strategic Innovation Fund Stream 4 award is provided by the federal ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

CAAIN brings together over 61 technology and agri-food companies to create new solutions that improve competitiveness, drive growth in both sectors and create jobs. It is a platform to pursue precision, productivity and premiums.

Projects within CAAIN will use a variety of technologies such as artificial intelligence, advanced sensors, hyperspectral imaging, and blockchain. Application of these transformational technologies by agricultural operations and food manufacturers is focused in three areas.

  • The network will bring together an ecosystem of autonomous processes, modules and machines to advance the use and value of automation and robotics in agriculture and food.
  • CAAIN will help build machine learning and artificial intelligence-enabled decision models that optimize production, reduce risk and target specific values demanded in the market and blockchain infrastructure that verifies that value for consumers.
  • The network will create and implement a smart farm platform that integrates partners and creates the context for testing, demonstrating, and scaling technologies.

Demand is growing for Canada to help feed a hungry planet, and our new technologies, approaches and processes, in conjunction with meaningful partnerships, will strengthen our agricultural sector and help meet that demand. The CAAIN network will build on innovation within the agricultural sector by bringing technology to market, applying data and new problem-solving technologies like artificial intelligence, and identifying opportunities for collaboration across the value chain between sectors.

Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates

BACKGROUND

Alberta Innovates will be partnering with organizations including the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, Olds College, MDA Systems Ltd., Linamar Corp., Lakeland College, DOT Technology Corporation, and TrustBIX. They will share $49.5 million in funding to bring together the private sector, academia and research institutions to drive automation and digitization of Canada’s agricultural sector. CAAIN is expected to begin with eight partners from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec

Vineland Research and Innovation Centre: Vineland is an independent, not-for-profit science and innovation organization dedicated to delivering product and production solutions for Canada’s horticulture sector. Our target clientele are the farmers and businesses that operate across the full scope of the horticultural sector and along the whole value chain from input suppliers to growers, packers, processors and retail.

MDA: MDA supports a broad range of activities in the areas of natural resource management, agriculture, environmental monitoring, space robotics, and national security, providing end-to-end solutions to support, monitor, and manage activities worldwide. The company’s breadth of expertise and long history of innovative industrial firsts has made it a go-to source for advanced technology to monitor and understand our changing planet.

Linamar Corp.: Linamar is a publicly traded Canadian manufacturing company supplying automotive and industrial markets across North America, Europe, and Asia. The Company is made up of two operating segments – the Powertrain/Driveline segment and the Industrial segment, which are further divided into five operating groups – Machining & Assembly, Light Metal Casting, Forging, Skyjack and Agriculture. The Company’s Skyjack and Agriculture operating groups are noted for their innovative, high quality mobile industrial equipment, notably its class-leading aerial work platforms, telehandlers and agricultural equipment.

DOT Technology Corp.: DOT Technology Corp. specializes in the manufacturing and sale of agricultural equipment, including a revolutionary autonomous power platform.

TrustBIX: TrustBIX delivers industry-leading customer service, software, hardware, data management and key leading-edge services to our users and customers globally and across many agricultural products. For years, TrustBIX has led internationally with programs to manage feedlots and cattle auction management software and was also one of the first in the world to create an electronic grading probe for Pork and Lamb. TrustBIX focuses on collecting data throughout the agricultural supply chain and building a good network of shared data and traceability that creates efficiencies and areas for economic collaboration where everyone in the system is rewarded financially.

Olds College: Olds College has been offering quality hands-on education for over a century. The College is passionate about the Agriculture industry. Through their applied research and integrated learning, they are proud to be Canada’s Smart Agriculture College, specializing in agriculture, horticulture, land and environmental stewardship. They work closely with industry to advance and adapt their programming to ensure their graduates have the skills to succeed. Olds College is home to 3200 students and over 500 faculty and staff.

Lakeland College: Lakeland College is a comprehensive educational institution delivering programming across an array of disciplines. Lakeland has been providing training in commercial agriculture production since 1913. Today, the School of Agriculture at Lakeland College has grown to include around 38 Agriculture Science faculty and over 500 Agriculture students. Assets include commercial-scale beef, dairy, sheep, and crop enterprises right on campus, 2200 acres of farm land, which includes 1500 acres of crop land, a state of the art 120-cow dairy with robotic and conventional milking systems and the GN Sweet Livestock Research Centre equipped with GrowSafe feed bunks. Lakeland College also has a Student Managed Farm which is a $12M operation managed by students and staff to generate revenue and a return on investment that is representative of other commercial farms in the area, providing financial stability to this “living lab” and experiential learning site.

Alberta Innovates: Alberta Innovates invests in research, innovation and entrepreneurship to drive provincial economic growth and diversity. We ignite the power of innovation through our work with researchers, industry and entrepreneurs to move Alberta to a lower-carbon future, enhance the responsible use of land and water, and contribute to the improved health and well-being of Albertans.

Alberta Innovates provides technical expertise, entrepreneurial advice and support, opportunities for partnerships, and funding to advance the best ideas. We support a broad range of research and innovation activity – from discovery to use. Collaboration is at the heart of what we do – bringing together bright minds and great ideas to drive innovation.

Media inquiries:

Dwayne Brunner
Media Relations Manager
Alberta Innovates (587) 572-4091