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Alberta Launches $1.2M Agriculture Digitalization Program

By Denise-Faguy

The Alberta Government, recognizing the potential of digital advancements in farming, has awarded a $1.2 million grant to the Simpson Centre for Food and Agricultural Policy at the University of Calgary.  

This funding kick-starts the Alberta Digitalization Agriculture (ABDIAG) program, a nearly three-year initiative aiming to revolutionize Alberta's agricultural sector through cutting-edge technologies. 

Launching in October 2023 and running until June 2026, the ABDIAG program seeks to overcome barriers in adopting agricultural digital technologies. It focuses on leveraging robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and smart devices to increase efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability in farming practices.  

The program also aims to develop policies that support data management and transparency within the agri-food sector. 

The Alberta Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, led by Minister RJ Sigurdson, announced the grant, highlighting its potential to make Alberta’s agriculture more competitive and innovative.  

"This program is a significant step toward enhancing the adoption of digital technologies in agriculture, benefiting both producers and the wider community," Sigurdson remarked. 

The ABDIAG program is not just about technological advancement but also about addressing key challenges such as technology awareness, return on investment, data literacy, structural capacities, and policy prioritization. It envisions a future where Alberta's agricultural production is not only more efficient and cost-effective but also environmentally sustainable. 

Educational outreach, including academic publications, policy briefs, living labs, and webinars, is planned to disseminate findings and encourage the adoption of digital technologies among producers and policymakers.  

The initiative aims to reduce the environmental impact of farming while increasing production, fostering a shift towards more informed and technologically equipped agricultural practices. 

As the program unfolds, the Simpson Centrewill play a crucial role in bridging the gap between research, policy-making, and real-world application.  

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