Canada announces six innovative research projects through the AgriScience Program on Earth Day

Mother Earth Day 2022. Image credit: Image: UNICEF Tom Pietrasik

CMEDIA: Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Francis Drouin, jointly announced on Earth Day, an investment of over $6.4 million under the AgriScience Program towards six projects to help tackle climate change and create sustainability in Canada’s agriculture sector.

The AgriScience Program, an initiative under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, provides funding and support for pre-commercial science activities and cutting-edge research that benefits the agriculture and agri-food sector and Canadians with an aim to accelerate the pace of innovation.

Up to $1,053,706 would be received by AFA Systems Ltd., located in Brampton, Ontario to develop a prototype of a completely compostable can system for agri-food applications through an innovative solution that incorporates bio-composites, generates a lower carbon footprint, and offers a functional and sustainable alternative to composite cans destined for landfills.

Cascadia Seaweed Corporation (CSC), located in Sidney, British Columbia, will receive up to $533,475 to determine the potential of three types of seaweed as an alternative feedstock for cattle. The project will enable CSC to evaluate the effects on methane reduction and animal performance, with the aim of reducing emissions from cattle production while utilizing a sustainable and low-resource source for feed.

Enns Brothers Ltd., located in Oak Bluff, Manitoba, will receive up to $2,719,745 to advance the development of an innovative AI-driven device for autonomous, non-destructive crop monitoring. The device integrates lidar and multi-spectral sensors to generate 3D point cloud data. Computer vision and machine learning approaches will be used to provide novel quantitative information for crop health, decision support and insurance applications.

McCain Foods Limited, located in Florenceville-Bristol, New Brunswick, will receive up to $477,550 to pilot clean technologies and regenerative farming practices on a commercial potato farm. These practices will be assessed for their potential to reduce the environmental footprint of agriculture and promote soil health, biodiversity, crop yield and farm revenue. The project will contribute to the understanding of practices that can help growers mitigate the impact of climate change.

Naut’sa Mawt Tribal Council, located in Delta, British Columbia, will receive up to $283,206 to investigate the impacts of integrating hog strip grazing in a market vegetable’s cover crop rotation system on soil quality, the nutrient life cycle from soil to plants, and the economics of such integration. The project compares a cover cropping system managed with hogs to a system managed with tractor tillage, with the aim of providing a system that aligns with Indigenous land stewardship and regenerative agriculture.

Nexus Robotics, headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with operations in Brossard, QC, will receive up to $1,364,399 to develop software that will add insect pest and disease detection to the cutting-edge weeding robot developed by the company. The project has excellent potential to reduce the environmental impacts of pest management by providing producers with data and information that will allow them to take targeted and immediate action against identified pests.