B.C. companies continue to develop and adopt agritech to create new products and farming processes that will help famers mitigate the impacts of climate change and boost the province’s food security and food economy.
The governments of Canada and B.C. are supporting 10 new projects with more than $1 million through the Canada-British Columbia Agri-Innovation Program (CBCAIP) to help fight climate change, address labour shortages, increase profitability and increase adoption of regenerative agriculture practices. The program is administered by the B.C. Investment Agriculture Foundation.
Dicklands Farms FLP in Chilliwack is receiving $165,000 to help design and develop a low-emission dairy barn that will capture and clean barn air, and control barn temperature and humidity. By combining cutting edge, commercially available technologies, Dicklands Farms aims to lower greenhouse gas emissions from the dairy sector, while giving dairy farmers the ability to control the environment inside their barns, keeping their cows healthy and safe during extreme weather events and increasing productivity.
Docantheon Horticulture is developing a three-wheel electric powered mini-tractor prototype that allows the operator to lie face down as it rolls slowly down field rows and perform planting, hand weeding or harvesting tasks. Located in Victoria, Ross Borden is receiving $15,000 to build the machine, named “Zero” as it requires zero extra bed space to operate and zero bending to plant, weed, and harvest. The goal of the “Zero” is to help reduce worker fatigue while increasing productivity.
Okanagan-based Geotronics Consulting Inc., in partnership with Vintality Tech Inc., is receiving $192,022 to develop a new technology to reduce irrigation in vineyards. The technology will reduce the amount of water used, while maintaining vine health and grape quality. Using a combination of precision viticulture sensor technology with new developments in wireless and mesh networking, the system will allow real-time tracking of water use through sub-soil mapping. This technology could also be applied to other farmed crops that use automatic watering systems, once validated and commercialized.
Projects under the Canada-British Columbia Agri-Innovation Program have received more than $11.3 million in funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The partnership is a five-year $3-billion commitment by Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sectors. This includes a $2-billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 per cent federally and 40 per cent provincially/territorially for programs designed and delivered by provinces and territories.