Growing the benefits of digital tech in agriculture

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Source: Government of Alberta

Alberta is a global leader in agriculture research and technology. This results in increased productivity, competitiveness, sustainability and food security for both producers and consumers. To help find new ways to put more food on plates across Canada and around the world, Alberta’s government is continuing to promote innovation in agriculture by investing in digital policy research.

Alberta’s government is providing a $1.2-million grant over three years to the University of Calgary’s Simpson Centre for the Alberta Digitalization Agriculture Program. The Simpson Centre will conduct research to develop a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with the digitalization of agriculture as part of the program.

“We’re looking to the Simpson Centre to research and provide recommendations on how Alberta’s producers can use technologies like robotics and data analytics to help Alberta successfully navigate their adoption. These technologies will support advancements in the sector so our province can remain a leader in agriculture innovation.”

RJ Sigurdson, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation

“Connecting UCalgary’s expertise in machine learning, robotics and smart devices to agricultural industries will be mutually beneficial to all stakeholders. We are grateful that the province has acknowledged the potential of digitalization to help make agricultural production more efficient, cost-effective and sustainable.”

Dr. Ed McCauley, president, University of Calgary

The Simpson Centre for Agricultural and Food Innovation and Public Education at the School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, is an academic policy institute that supports Canadian agri-food and agriculture. Agriculture and Irrigation has supported the Simpson Centre with research funding since 2021 when it provided $1.7 million in funding for the Carbon Program, which concluded on October 31, 2023.

The Simpson Centre will research ways to improve understanding and technology use and provide recommendations to producers and government policymakers. As part of this work, the centre will create a platform for experts to exchange ideas and develop recommendations.

“Alberta Beef Producers appreciates the Government of Alberta’s investments in technology and digital agriculture. Innovation in ag-tech is crucial to our industry’s competitiveness and moving the beef industry forward.”

Brodie Haugan, chair, Alberta Beef Producers

“The Simpson Centre’s leading researchers play a significant role in finding solutions to the challenges faced by the farmers and ranchers we serve. Never has it been more critical to support ag-tech research and collaboration among producers and policy makers to examine how new technologies can be adopted in the agricultural sector.”

Don Smith, chief operating officer, United Farmers of Alberta Co-operative Limited

Quick facts

  • The government’s grant of $1.2 million over three years forms 58 per cent of the program’s overall budget. The Simpson Centre will provide the remaining funding.