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Feds invest $49.6M in AI, robotics for agriculture


July 29, 2019
By Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada

The federal government has announced an investment of up to $49.5 million in the Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN), a network bringing together the private sector, academia and research institutions to accelerate automation and digitization in Canada’s agricultural sector.

CAAIN’s $108.5 million project will build on Canada’s strengths in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and precision agriculture to develop exportable farming solutions that will reduce reliance on temporary labour, increase global competitiveness and improve profitability for Canadian farmers.

The investment expects to create opportunities for highly skilled jobs and new businesses, improved food safety and livestock traceability, and smarter agriculture that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and land, water and pesticide use.

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“The future of farming will require farmers to adopt new technologies and processes in order to stay competitive,” says Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. “The Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network’s work to build on Canada’s strengths in artificial intelligence, robotics and precision agriculture to develop exportable farming solutions will be critical to ensuring this vital sector continues to grow for years to come.”

Spearheaded by Alberta Innovates and Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, together with Alberta’s Olds College and Lakeland College, CAAIN is expected to begin with eight partners from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec. The network will use the Olds College Smart Farm as a hub to develop and test new technologies.