The University of Saskatchewan College of Engineering and College of Agriculture and Bioresources, in partnership with the Livestock Forage Centre of Excellence (LFCE), are working on establishing a “living lab” to bring together producers, established tech companies, and ag-tech start-ups to create an environment and a platform to reduce current barriers to adoption of smart farming practices.
The federal government announced a grant of $400,00 over two years for the project on June 21, with the funding coming through PrairiesCan under its Regional Innovation Ecosystem (RIE) program.
Other partners include SaskTel, Mera Group of Companies North Star Systems, Smart Paddock, Wood River Controls, and the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association.
Based at the Livestock Forage Centre of Excellence at Clavet, Sask., the project aims to help producers evaluate the value of new technology in their operations and gain access to research partnerships to develop new technologies, says USask.
It also provides tech companies with access to real-life conditions to further develop their products and gain feedback from their potential clientele. A user-friendly data analytics platform will be developed to support commercializing new ag-tech solutions.
”LFCE continues to look for relevant and scientifically sound practices and technology tools that will contribute to economic and environmental improvements for the industry. This allows us to take a step forward in those areas,” says Scott Wright, the director of the Livestock Forage Centre of Excellence.
The project is part of “smart farming” research and innovation for the agriculture sector at USask, which involves collecting and analyzing big data to help producers make informed and sustainable farm management decisions to improve productivity and efficiency.