EDMONTON, ALBERTA, Oct. 11, 2023 – As farmers work to get their crops off the field, innovators being funded by Alberta Innovates are harnessing digital technologies to make agricultural producers’ jobs easier, lower their input costs and reduce their environmental footprint.

Eleven projects are underway this fall under the Agri-Food and Bioindustrial Innovation Program, ranging from seeding enhancements in one project to preventing grain spoilage after harvest in another. On the bioindustrial side, innovators are developing new processes, technologies and value-added uses for agricultural crop residues.

Alberta Innovates has invested more than $5 million in grant funding in the first year of the program to support the work of post-secondary researchers and companies. The total value of the 11 projects is roughly $12.8 million. The difference comes from other funders, project partners or the recipients.

Projects funded to date will benefit farmers and manufacturers. Examples include:

  • Developing a made-in Alberta CO2 sensor for grain bins to reduce crop loss.
  • Using digital tech to better estimate wheat yields, and help farmers efficiently manage their harvest, storage and cash-flow.
  • Using artificial intelligence to better identify lame cattle before transport to a feedlot.
  • Developing new biodegradable seed coatings and uses for plant fibres.
  • Fabricating and deploying a portable decorticator to process hemp straw into fibre that can be used in bio-based products.

Projects in this funding round also include a food processing innovation to apply advanced technology to beverage testing, and a process to develop a new cladding for the wood product and construction industries. See the backgrounder below for funding recipients, grant amounts and project descriptions.

The Agri-Food and Bioindustrial Innovation Program (ABIP) remains open to new funding applications on a continuous basis.

This program is open to small and medium-sized enterprises, industry organizations, research and development organizations, post-secondary institutions and government research laboratories. Applicants don’t need to be based in Alberta, but their project must demonstrate clear benefits for the province. Successful applications can receive up to $500,000 in funding per project.


"I am pleased to see Alberta Innovates support these cutting-edge projects. This funding will help Alberta agriculture continue to be a significant driving force for our economy and allow our producers to continue to provide high-quality agricultural products.”

- RJ Sigurdson, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation


“Alberta’s bioproduct and agri-food industries provide tremendous value to the province and supply critical products across the globe, including food, fibre, and finished products. Our investments through the ABIP program are targeted to ensure Alberta and Canada will continue to have robust, sustainable, and innovative biological industries. The projects we’re announcing today represent the forefront of innovation in these industries and will offer significant benefits to Alberta.”

-  Mark Summers, Associate VP Agriculture and Environment, Alberta Innovates


“The grants we have received from Alberta Innovates have helped us make deep technical progress with our product. We identified significant problems we can solve for grain growers in Alberta, and we also evaluated how this made-in-Alberta software solution for producers can be scaled globally. Our company is based in Lethbridge and many of our employees work in Calgary. We’re getting more users of our app every month. Now we have customers from other countries as well.”

-  Dr. Godard , COO, Verge Technologies


Farmers are increasingly adopting technology for all aspects of their operation. A lot of that technology is focused on planning what to plant and how to maximize yield through to harvest. We’re an Alberta grain storage management company selling to customers here at home and around the world. We work hard to bring powerful easy-to-use tools to market that protect, connect and optimize the farmers’ investment once they get their grain into the bin. We created our CO2 grain-quality sensor to ensure every grain gets to market.”

- Dave Crompton, Founder & CEO, OPIsystems Inc


“We are applying our patented bio-based polymer technology for use as a seed coating after being approached by an international seed company. This biodegradable coating will improve control of germination after crop planting, and because the polymer is from a natural source it also qualifies for organic farming. As an Edmonton-based company specializing in biopolymers and bioplastics, we’re grateful for the support provided by Alberta Innovates to bring this cleantech innovation to the world.”

- William Bardosh, CEO, TerraVerdae BioWorks 


Increasing the adoption of technology and digital information in agriculture is one of five priorities identified by Alberta Innovates as a significant economic opportunity for Alberta. Alberta Innovates also supports projects and technology development that encourage the use of biomass including wood resources, agricultural residues, and other bio-based feedstocks.

The Agri-Food and Bioindustrial Innovation Program focuses on:

  • Sustaining, growing and optimizing productivity, and reducing the cost of production of Alberta’s agri-food and bioindustrial industries.
  • Adding value to enhanced and new commodities in the agri-food and bioindustrial sectors.
  • Increasing environmental sustainability and social benefits for Albertans.

Alberta Innovates covers up to 75 per cent of project costs. Successful applicants are required to leverage Alberta Innovates funding by contributing cash or in-kind to the project, and/or seeking funding from other funding agencies or project partners.  

Current ABIP Projects 

Funding Recipient

Alberta Innovates Funding

Project Description

Total Project Cost

Super GeoAI Technology Inc.


Super GeoAI Technology (SGA) is developing a revolutionary "hands-free" technology for estimation of wheat yields that is poised to transform the crop-yield estimation industry. Accurate and early estimates empower producers to efficiently manage their harvest, storage, cash-flow, and delivery with confidence, particularly during periods of bumper crops or challenging weather conditions such as early snowfall or prolonged rains. Currently, in-season crop yield estimations are manually done, a time-consuming and inaccurate process. SGA aims to automate and streamline these processes, providing valuable insights that can help producers optimize their harvest and storage, minimize unharvested crops, and ultimately maximize profits.



OPIsystems Inc.


Annually, about 10 to 20 per cent of crops are lost post-harvest. Grain management systems, featuring automated monitoring and controls, play a crucial role in minimizing losses and optimizing quality throughout the drying, conditioning, and storage processes. OPI is developing an innovative IoT-based grain management system for grain storage. This system aims to maximize value, profit, and sustainability. Key components of this system include the introduction of a cutting-edge CO2 sensor, the transition to IoT architecture, and the establishment of an interoperability standard for grain management systems. This versatile and modular cloud-connected solution allows for the flexible installation of its components in any sequence to suit various levels of monitoring and automation tailored to specific applications.


Dr. Joyce Van Donkersgoed Inc.


Lameness is a significant issue in Alberta's beef industry, which plays a crucial role in Canadian cattle production and export to the US. To address this challenge, we're developing a unique lameness assessment app using computer vision models. This app will assist beef producers, transporters, auctions, and veterinarians by scoring lameness severity in individual cattle. By reducing subjectivity and ensuring compliance with regulations, the app aims to facilitate timely and informed decisions, promoting the health and welfare of cattle.


Verge Technologies Inc.


Growers have not had the tools to assess the economic and sustainability impact of all factors

influencing field operations. This project is developing an interactive software with a novel algorithm that synchronizes seeding and spraying paths. It automates row controls to optimize seed and fertilizer delivery. An intuitive user interface enables synchronization based on sustainability factors like input reduction, GHG emissions, and soil compaction. The solution developed through this project requires no additional data gathering from the grower other than field boundaries and implement width. With only these inputs, growers can assess the impact of seed, fertilizer, and fuel on overall growing season and focus on optimizing the cost of input while also reducing emissions and adopting improved farming practices.




This project is building a Software as a service platform to use in conjunction with consulting services to support companies in the agri-food and bio-energy sectors reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE), improve environmental outcomes, and take advantage of financial opportunities connected with decarbonization. The new product will provide companies with measurement approaches, modeling tools, and information services specific to their industries that give insights into decarbonization pathways and markets aligned with their business priorities. The platform will help unlock investment to support adoption of GHGE mitigation management practices that contribute towards corporate net zero carbon emission goals.



Dr. David Wishart, University of Alberta


The production of safe, high-quality, high-value beverages is a central pillar of the food industry. Unfortunately, chemical and nutritional beverage testing, particularly for alcoholic beverages, is often minimal and what is done still uses slow, outdated and expensive technologies. The project proposes to significantly advance the field of beverage testing using a combination of metabolomics, precision chemistry and machine learning. Combined, these technologies will provide a more detailed picture of the macro- and micronutrients, the chemicals contributing to flavors and faults as well as the presence of contaminants (pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, antibiotics, toxins) in beverages.



Natural Fibre Technologies Ltd.


This project involves the design and fabrication of a third-generation portable decorticator, with associated ancillary equipment. The current design input is based on experience and findings obtained from operating a prototype and two generations successive improvements to the design. Included in the project is the deployment of the machine for processing hemp straw and the acquisition and installation of value-add equipment for down-line processing.



TerraVerdae Bioworks


TerraVerdae Bioworks is a Canadian cleantech company, based in Edmonton, which has developed biopolymer technology based on polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) - polymers that are bio-derived, naturally biodegradable and offer sustainable solutions to the pollution problems of conventional polymers and plastics. This project is developing an advanced biodegradable coatings for seeds that will enhance efficiency, help maintain soil health and reduce GHG emissions associated with crop production.


BM Homes Ltd.


This project aims to develop a wood-based, multi-functional exterior cladding system for the North American market. ProPetra is an inorganic composite material made from minerals and water-based resin additives that can be applied on different substrates for interior finishing applications. By applying it to wood-based panel materials like OSB (oriented strandboard) and plywood, the project team is creating a more sustainable and durable exterior cladding product. The long-term goal is to establish a plant in Alberta to use local OSB to produce the value-added cladding materials.



Rahil Khoshnazar, University of Calgary


This project uses oxy-cracking technology to extract the reactive silica from the residues of agricultural crops in Alberta at relatively low temperatures (150-230 ℃) and moderate pressures (100-500 psi). This technology consumes much less energy than other common methods and emits zero direct GHGs. The final product will be a supplementary material that can be used in blended cements or be added to the concrete at the time of mixing.



Patricia Dolez, University of Alberta


This project is determining the parameters leading to the production of high-performance regenerated cellulose filaments using local sources of cellulose from hemp and recycled textiles and the environmentally friendly Lyocell process. In the first phase of the project, the pulp dissolution and extrusion processes will be optimized to get the best performance for the pure cellulose filaments. In the second phase, the performance of the filament will be improved using different technologies to meet the requirements associated with the different applications of interest.




About Alberta Innovates 

Alberta Innovates manages nearly 1,300 projects in a portfolio valued at $1.33 billion. We work with innovators in all sectors of the economy and all corners of the province to drive entrepreneurship, applied research and industry development. With our impact-based funding programs and services, we are transforming energy systems for a net-zero world, promoting the responsible use of land and water, leveraging provincial strengths in agriculture, and contributing to improved health and well-being by harnessing digital tech and data. We are also advancing emerging technologies and strengthening entrepreneurship for a strong and diversified economy. We operate in 11 locations with more than one million sq. ft. of industrial testing and lab facilities, and 600 acres of farmland. We employ nearly 600 highly skilled scientists, business and technical professionals. From funding to commercialization, we are Alberta’s innovation engine!

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Darrell Winwood

Senior Manager, Corporate Relations