Protein Industries Canada invests in farm data platform
September 16, 2020 By Top Crop Manager
Today, Protein Industries Canada (PIC) announced an investment in a new platform, intended to increase the efficiency of farmer decision-making and expand Canada’s plant protein market opportunities.
The $21-million project is being led by Farmers Edge Inc. and OPIsystems Inc., with a co-investment from PIC. Farmers Edge and OPIsystems are capturing farm-level data related to crop and storage health management. This data in turn will be used to develop predictive models that use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to help farmers enhance production practices, as well as make better storage and marketing decisions. This is expected to increase return on investments related to all areas of seed selection, irrigation, equipment selection and post-harvest management.
Once the initial phase is complete, Farmers Edge and OPIsystems will partner with the Standards Council of Canada to improve traceability along the plant protein value chain. By using the data captured on farms, the partners will use a comprehensive digital platform to show consumers and trade partners how the products they’re buying were produced and managed. The platform will include transparency related to production practices and any applicable regulatory or trade compliance checkoffs.
“Canada’s farmers are on the cutting edge of technology, which gives consumers around the world the best quality food products. Enhanced traceability across the plant protein value chain will help our farmers expand market opportunities and boost consumer confidence in our protein crops,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal minister of agriculture and agri-food.
When complete, the final products from both phases of the project will provide full traceability along the entire plant protein value chain. This platform is expected to lead to approximately 200 new Canadian jobs by 2025.
Farmers Edge and OPIsystems are together investing $13.6 million into the project, with PIC investing an additional $7.4 million. The companies’ past technological experience is expected to be an asset in the project’s development; as a global leader in digital agriculture, Farmers Edge provides its customers with field-level analysis and predictive modelling daily, while OPIsystems uses innovative technology to help producers dry, condition and store grain in ways that optimize quality while reducing energy consumption and spoilage losses.