The Alberta Digitalization Agriculture Program

The program will identify the challenges and opportunities for the digitalization of Canada’s agriculture. A better understanding and management of data-driven agricultural technology (AgTech) means increased productivity and sustainability, as well as more predictable ROI and cost savings across the sector.

With generous funding from the Alberta Government, the program’s goals include fostering data management best practices, developing policy recommendations, and enhancing transparency in the agri-food space.

 

Where we are now

Innovative AgTech options such as robotics, AI, and smart connectivity have already been commercialized, giving us more data than ever before about weather and climate, land use, animal welfare, crops, soil and weed information. It is data that enables producers, input providers, processors, distributors, investors, innovators, consumers, and policymakers to improve collaboration and to make effective decisions for a more sustainable food system.

However, widespread adoption of such technology is currently limited. Different stakeholders have different motivations, different pressures and different problems preventing them from fully exploiting the AgTech opportunities. It’s necessary to understand and to solve the barriers to digitalization in agriculture.

Next steps

Many voices need to be heard across the sector. There are many valuable ideas, perspectives and solutions. Over the course of three years, our objective is to gather and harness these insights and expertise for the collective benefit of all involved.

The Simpson Centre will conduct extensive research and request the feedback of participants in the agriculture value chain to inform three main areas:

  1. Currently commercialized AgTech and farming data will be reviewed in Canada and internationally to create a comprehensive assessment for the industry.
  2. Talking and listening to key industry players through interviews, roundtables, and collaborative “Living Labs” to understand requirements, challenges, and suggestions.
  3. Communicating the knowledge we gather in reports, webinars, policy briefs, press releases and other communications for online media for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Desired outcomes

 Our focus is to:

  • Raise awareness and create buy-in for available AgTech and its benefits in improving productivity, as well as land and animal stewardship.
  • Promote the value of adopting digital technologies for data collection and regional risk management.
  • Build capacity for data literacy and data use, enabling data-driven decision-making in the agricultural sector.
  • Assess infrastructure requirements for digitalization (e.g., bandwidth in rural Alberta).
  • Prioritize policy effectiveness (e.g., farm equipment subsidies).

For more insights into the program, watch our video discussion featuring Guillaume Lhermie, Director of the Simpson Centre, John Conrad, Assistant Deputy Minister of Primary Agriculture, and Janay Meisser, Director of Innovation at UFA Co-operative Limited.

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Email: [email protected]

 

For more information about the Alberta Digitization Agriculture Program, please contact us:
RESEARCH PROGRAM.
Hanan Ishaque
Program Coordinator
The Simpson Centre
E: [email protected]

 

OUTREACH PROGRAM.
Tarra Drevet
Manager, Business Operations
The Simpson Centre
E: [email protected]