The project will help farmers become more efficient and achieve higher returns while improving traceability along the value chain
CALGARY, Feb. 27, 2020 /CNW/ – Today, Protein Industries Canada in partnership with an industry consortium, announced an investment of $ 9.25 million into a project that will help improve on-farm logistics and food traceability through an integrated data platform. This innovative project will utilize data from the farm gate, through the entire supply chain, to make on-farm practices more efficient, increasing consumer traceability while reducing input costs and the overall environmental impact of the sector.
“The Protein Industries Supercluster project is showing the way for increased collaboration between SMEs by bringing together partners from across the agriculture value chain. Both Canadian consumers and farmers will benefit from reliable farm-level data that can support Canada’s reputation as a supplier of traceable food ingredients, and a champion of sustainable farming practices,” The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry said.
The consortium, consisting of Provision Analytics from Calgary, AB; Verge Technologies from Calgary, AB; Skymatics from Calgary, AB; and Coutts Agro from Kindersley, SK will invest, $4.6 million or half of the total project budget, with Protein Industries Canada’s co-investment making up the other half.
This project brings together the expertise of Coutts Agro, a large-scale farming operation, with technologies from Verge Technologies and Skymatics, which uses digital mapping and optimization technologies to help farmers improve in-field operations by capturing information around input application, fuel use and more. Verge Technologies software results in fewer passes required to maintain a field, leading to reduced fuel costs and mitigating a producer’s environmental impact. This dataset will be used by Provision Analytics to create linkages to support food traceability, transparency and key metrics associated with energy efficiency.
“This project is truly ground-breaking for the Canadian agriculture and food sector,” CEO of Protein Industries Canada Bill Greuel said. “The collaboration and scope of this project, from on-farm through to processing captures the spirit of the Supercluster. By bringing together partners from across the value chain, the project will improve the traceability of our agri-food products across the chain of custody and provide metrics for sustainability initiatives, ensuring that Canada’s reputation as a safe and reliable supplier of healthy, sustainably produced food is protected.”
This will be the first project to attempt to correlate farm level practices through the value chain from production to processing. Historically, all notions of sustainability and traceability have been constrained to individual steps of the value chain. This project brings together the different touchpoints to support traceability and sustainability initiatives and advance Canada’s agriculture and food sector.
“We’re excited to work with Protein Industries Canada, Verge Technologies, Skymatics and Coutts Agro. The project gives the opportunity to de-commoditize Canadian crops, and find real, differentiating value in products as they move through the supply chain. We will leverage this direction to accelerate our data science team to drive value to the Canadian agriculture industry,” co-founder and CEO of Provision Analytics Erik Westblom said. “Our shop drives urgent customer success and a culture for finding issues in the world’s most important supply chain. We capture food safety and traceability information to help customers find business efficiency and meet compliance demands. The investment from Protein Industries Canada will help us find additional value through the development of machine learning algorithms associated with food waste reduction, caloric efficiency, water usage and carbon impact, from crop product through processing.”
“We are very excited to be working with this consortium group and the Protein Industries Canada on this exciting project,” CEO of Verge Technologies Ryan Johnson said. “Our focus at Verge Technologies is to drive efficiency within farming operations by providing tools that allow farmers to optimize the productivity of their in-field machinery. Focusing on efficiency in field means that farmers save time, reduce input costs and fuel consumed as well as making better soil management decisions. All of these outcomes lead to cost savings for the farmer and more sustainable farming operations. With the support we are receiving from Protein Industries Canada by way of funding and partner access we are making this a reality for Canadian farmers.”
“At Skymatics we see real value in allowing growers and producers to leverage every bit of their on-farm data and information to help grow their business in terms of efficiency and profitability,” CEO of Skymatics EJ Burrows said. “We’re excited to have the support of Protein Industries Canada as we begin this project with Provision, Verge Technologies and Coutts Agro to further develop and prove the value of bringing greater data transparency and traceability to the Canadian Ag industry.”
“Thank you to everyone at Protein Industries Canada, Provision Analytics, Verge, and Skymatics for making our group’s application a success. Never has the pace of changing demands around food been so great,” Vice President of Coutts Agro Matt Coutts said. “As farmers we take great care to sustainably produce safe food while improving outcomes for all stakeholders, including the environment. With this project, our group is able to create a future where the Canadian agriculture sector is on the right side of history and Canadian Farmers are participating in the associated value creation.”
This is Protein Industries Canada’s fourth approved project and the first that falls under the data category. This project will have demonstrated benefits beyond plant protein to the entire agriculture and food sector. By providing transparency through traceability and production methods, Canada will be further distinguished as a safe and trusted suppler of food.
About Provision Analytics:
Provision Analytics has a dedicated focus on digital Food Safety, Traceability and Analytics within the food value chain. Our goal is to provide a single, unified location for aggregate food supply chain information. The company’s proprietary data structure relies on complex mathematics, allowing for performance 4,660 times faster than the world’s fastest blockchain, while operating with 35 times less cost. The solution minimizes the overhead of regulatory compliance through digital data capture, workflow management, and production reporting; this immediate focus allows for growing analytical capability through the application of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Provision Analytics aims to work in conjunction with industry partners to provide a cohesive and collaborative approach to creating transparency in the food value chain, while generating incentive and upside for everyone.
About Verge Technologies:
Verge Technologies is innovating at the convergence of digital, precision and autonomous agriculture. Focused on optimizing movement of in-field agricultural equipment, the Verge Technologies team of rocket scientists, farmers, computer programmers and dealmakers is playing a key role in pushing the boundaries of traditional farming practices through enabled, optimized and autonomous operational solutions. Dedicated to adding real value to farmers, Verge Technologies’ flagship product, First Pass, uses proprietary algorithms to create optimized in-field route plans for GPS enabled machinery. First Pass reduces miles driven, equipment wear and tear, hours worked, fuel, seed, fertilizer, chemicals and overall greenhouse gas emissions produced during farming activities.
Skymatics provides transformative solutions to the agricultural industry as well as the insurance space by allowing for greater data transparency, collaboration and analytics within the Ag insurance workflow. Skymatics’ core product offers producers and ag insurers with automated crop damage assessments and verification in ways never seen before as we leverage remote sensing data, on farm data and innovative analytics to automate processes to take crop insurance claim assessment from days to down to minutes.
About Coutts Agro:
Coutts Agro Ltd. is a family farm located near Kindersley, SK. They operate and produce grain and oilseeds on roughly 100,000 acres. A leader in adopting new technology, they were the winner of the 2018 Land O’ Lakes Innovation in Sustainability Award.
SOURCE Protein Industries Canada
For further information: Tiffany Stephenson, Protein Industries Canada, 306-519-8202, [email protected]