Government of Canada invests over $1 million in new technologies to improve farm management

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Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Today, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced over $1 million in funding for SomaDetect Inc. and Vivid Machines Inc. through the AgriScience Program to help producers improve farm management and their bottom line.

Across Canada, start-ups focused on agricultural innovations are developing breakthrough technologies to help address farm management challenges. These technological advancements are important to providing farmers with access to the tools they need to maximize production, increasing food supply, and boosting economic growth.

SomaDetect Inc., located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, provides dairy farmers with access to data on milk quality, reproductive status, and herd health indicators from every cow at every milking. With funding of up to $707,873, the company will combine its sensors with artificial intelligence to deliver real-time milk quality information at the farm level. Farmers can closely monitor information to keep their herd healthy and free of diseases, and improve reproductive success rate, ultimately producing the best possible milk for consumers.

Vivid Machines Inc., located in Toronto, Ontario, provides fruit and vegetable growers with a computer vision system that captures visible and chemical details of every plant across a crop, from bud to harvest. With funding of up to $390,297, the company will develop its sensor and vision technology to capture plant-level data below the canopy of leaves. This will generate a real-time understanding for producers of the quantity and quality of fruit on every plant. As a result, they can better manage plant growth and predict yield, and diagnose diseases, pests and nutrient deficiencies early. This helps growers maximize volume and quality of food for Canadian and global consumers.

The development of cutting-edge technologies is helping farmers find efficiencies and cost savings in their daily operations, while doing their part to feed a growing global population. The Government of Canada continues to invest in agricultural innovation that encourages knowledge sharing and bridges the information gap between scientists and farmers, strengthening agriculture in Canada for the long term.

Quotes

“Research and innovation are vital to giving our farmers the tools they need to tackle farm management challenges and boost food security. These new technologies, developed by SomaDetect and Vivid Machines, will allow farms of all sizes to have access to information in formats they can use. Investments like these support growth in Canada’s agricultural sector.”

– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“SomaDetect Inc. is a leader in Canadian dairy and in the Halifax community. Their sensors help farmers provide the best quality milk to Canadians, while supporting jobs in our community and in Nova Scotia. By investing in innovative projects like these, the government is helping keep the agriculture sector strong and sustainable for the future.”

– Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax, Nova Scotia

“Access to real-time information on crops is an important part of farmers’ work. It allows them to be better organized, mitigate risks and disease, and help advance their business. Based here in Toronto, Vivid Machines Inc. plays an important part in helping farmers understand crops through sensors and computer vision technology. I applaud their efforts in helping their local community and farming communities across Canada.”

– Julie Dzerowicz, Member of Parliament for Davenport, Ontario

“Building new technology is full of challenges. Funding from AgriScience means that we can explore key projects that have some elements of technical risk. This is incredibly exciting for our dairy farmers and the industry as a whole. We are excited to receive this funding and to dig into this new project. For a startup like SomaDetect, this support makes it possible for us to continue to develop our technology and remain at the absolute forefront of milk monitoring, computer vision, and artificial intelligence.”

– Bethany Deshpande, CEO and Founder, SomaDetect Inc.

“With the size and quality requirements for marketable fruit, crop load management is one of the pressing issues for growers. Maximizing the amount of fruit that makes it to the produce aisle with the help of accurate farm data will improve profitability while also helping reduce food loss. Thanks to the funding we received from AAFC through the AgriScience projects component, we’ve been able to develop and refine sensor prototypes and machine learning models that can detect, track, and count fruit while they’re on the tree, to help growers efficiently understand the needs of each plant on their farm.”

– Jenny Lemieux, Co-Founder and CEO, Vivid Machines Inc.

Quick facts

  • The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a $3 billion, five-year (2018-2023) investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen and grow Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector.
  • The AgriScience Program aims to accelerate the pace of innovation by providing funding and support for pre-commercial science activities and cutting-edge research that benefits the agriculture and agri-food sector and Canadians.