Vancouver, BC – Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster is proud to announce an investment in the world’s first interactive, operational planning software for autonomous agriculture. The Standard Data Platform for Autonomous Agriculture project is focused on bringing digital technologies and automation to the farm that will help farmers be more efficient, increase their output, lower their costs, and have a positive impact on the environment.
“As our country moves toward net zero, all sectors of the economy understand we must all do our part to get there. For farmers and the agriculture sector, developing digital innovations can lead to greener, faster and more sustainable food production,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “With the help of this investment, it’s great to see Canadian innovators coming together with bold and innovative ideas that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create more green jobs and support sustainable futures for Canadian farmers and families from coast to coast to coast.”
Led by Verge Ag in collaboration with Terramera, i-Open Group, Simon Fraser University and QuantoTech, this project will create a digital twin of a users’ farm to support operational planning and decision-making. The platform will leverage new data sources to help farmers characterize their fields, crops, soil, and environmental factors and combine that with historical farm data to optimize planning, manage costs and maximize net returns.
“We are excited to work with a strong consortium of partners with diverse expertise in geospatial technology, data platform development, computer vision, and artificial intelligence,” said Ryan Johnson, President and CEO, Verge Ag. “As we enter the fourth agricultural revolution, Verge Ag is poised to prepare the next generation of farmers with hyper-efficient, sustainable and autonomous farming solutions. Our ability to link agronomic planning and production to farm operations planning and productivity is just the start.”
The effects of climate change and rapidly increasing operation costs of farms are threatening the livelihood of farmers, and the stability of our food supply chain. By transforming the way food is grown, Canadian farmers are taking a bold step towards boosting agricultural productivity, reducing crop loss, and combatting agricultural greenhouse gas emissions that make up 12% of Canada’s total emissions.
“Canadian farmers rely on cutting-edge science and research to sustainably grow their businesses. Scientific breakthroughs have led to new farming technologies and practices, provided farmers with better crop varieties, and helped protect crops and livestock from pests and diseases. This investment in new digital technologies and agri-food data analytics will help make our agricultural industry even stronger while protecting the environment and opening up new market opportunities for our agri-food businesses,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
The project has a total investment of $10,811,321 with $6,465,377 invested by industry and $4,345,944 co-invested by the Digital Supercluster’s Technology Leadership Program. This project is also supported by the Province of British Columbia through the StrongerBC Agritech Grant program, which focuses on strengthening BC’s economic recovery, agriculture sector and food security by supporting food producers and agritech innovators. Other investment support is being provided by Mitacs.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the global supply chain reinforces the need for innovative solutions to make sure people have access to safe and sustainable food,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “B.C. is proud to invest in new technology and innovation that will strengthen our food security and builds a stronger, cleaner province that works for more people.”
“We have seen B.C. farmers, engineers and software developers achieve amazing things that increase on-farm production, efficiency and sustainability when they work together,” said B.C. Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Lana Popham, “This platform offers opportunities to do all of those things as well as help guide crop and business decisions that will support B.C.’s food security and food economy.”
“We need to act quickly and ambitiously if we are to meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our agriculture sector. That is exactly what is happening in this project. Solutions such as the Standard Data Platform for Autonomous Agriculture project will improve the sustainability of our farming sector, while delivering on the imperative to reduce carbon emissions,” said Sue Paish, CEO of the Digital Technology Supercluster.