CAAIN announces $5 million for new smart farm program
By Top Crop Manager
The Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN) has launched a $5 million call for funding focused on encouraging the expansion of a national network of smart farms.
Kerry Wright, CAAIN CEO, said in a statement that CAAIN is currently supporting a smart farm project which “has shown tremendous promise in three distinct areas. First, it validates the use of advanced agricultural technology. Second, it demonstrates the functionality of that equipment to farmers, who can then evaluate the potential return on investment for themselves in a real-world farm setting. Third, it is connected to three post-secondary institutions. They, as a result, now have the tools needed to train the next generation of agriculture industry professionals.”
The newly expanded initiative, says Wright, would help encourage the nationwide adoption of emerging ag tech.
This is the fifth funding call CAAIN has launched in the past two years. Wright acknowledged that smart farm projects are “complex,” and that the complexity, coupled with tight submission timelines, “might challenge the small and medium businesses we are mandated to encourage. That’s why this smart farm program is what’s referred to as ‘continuous intake,’ which means we’re inviting applicants to submit proposals according to their schedules, rather than ours.”
When added to the approximately $26 million CAAIN will provide to the 24 successful applicants of its first three competitions, as well as the $5 million expected to be used to support its beef and pork primary processing program, this smart farm competition pushes CAAIN’s funding commitments to roughly $36 million. Details are available online at caain.ca.