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McCain drives ag innovation with regenerative practices

McCain drives ag innovation with regenerative practices

A new McCain business unit will support food companies, landowners, and farmers to increase on-farm resilience and better support the adoption of regenerative agricultural practices.

By Andrew Joseph,; Image by Christos Giakkas from Pixabay

McCain Foods is certainly not a company accustomed to sitting on its laurels.

In continuation of its commitment to drive innovation and advance new technologies in agriculture, McCain Foods has launched Presia Ag Insights, a newly formed business unit wholly owned by the company that is a global leader in frozen foods.

According to the company, Presia is the result of a decade of collaboration to develop digital technologies, supporting farmers in building resiliency within their operations.

With Presia, farmers and crop-sourcing partners can better evaluate and predict crop yields, optimize harvest timing, and enhance on-farm sustainability practices.
Specializing in satellite-based, data-driven intelligence that can transform the way humans understand crop growth, Presia will accelerate the future of farming and foster the monitoring and adoption of regenerative agricultural practices by stakeholders across the agriculture sector.

"Launching Presia advances McCain’s innovative agriculture agenda, providing an opportunity to build off the expertise we have developed in potatoes to offer leading capabilities to other food businesses and farmers,” stated Peter Dawe, the Chief Growth and Strategy Officer at McCain Foods. “It is driving data intelligence that is helping us change the way we grow a potato.”

Presia is the evolution of McCain’s acquisition of the predictive crop portfolio from Resson in June 2022. Resson is a bioinformatics and data analytics company that has modernized crop management practices by integrating vision intelligence into farm equipment.

However, even before the purchase by McCain, Presia had already been working with them for some seven years, providing them with a deeper insight into in-season potato growth across the globe.

According to Presica, it provides McCain with an advanced prediction of yield, a view of canopy development, and regular measurements of key regenerative agriculture metrics. It deploys potato-, variety-, and McCain-specific models to ensure insights are relevant to unique business needs.

With this knowledge, McCain leverages Presia’s analytics to arm its potato growers with deeper insight into their fields, which helps them make key supply decisions.

For McCain, that predictive crop portfolio includes vision-intelligence-based technologies that better leverage field data and satellite imagery to assess more accurately the status of a potato crop.

“Presia supports our farmer and crop-sourcing partners in building resiliency within their operations and strengthening decision-making capabilities through the use of satellite imaging and machine learning,” commented Tyler Hennick, Managing Director of Presia. “We are proud to offer existing and new customers more frequent and accurate readings on their in-season crop performance within and across entire fields and regions.”

Based in Ontario and eastern Canada, the Presia team is comprised primarily of data scientists and software developers with nearly a decade of experience working with crop-monitoring technologies on potatoes.

The insights from Presia’s data and models will help its customers better manage their crops, support earlier yield estimates with greater accuracy, and improve crop monitoring and sampling efficiency. While the focus is currently on potatoes, Presia’s data and models could be expanded to other crops in the future.

“We are focused initially on measuring plant health, supporting crop quality, and tracking regenerative agriculture practices. This expertise has been built within potato with plans to support similar insights in other specialty crops,” said Hennick. “We are getting more data on region- and variety-specific nuances to inform our modelling and can work with our partners to measure the indicators that matter to them most.”

McCain Foods (Canada) is the Canadian division of McCain Foods Limited, which is headquartered in Toronto. It is an international leader in the frozen food industry. McCain Foods is the world's largest manufacturer of frozen potato specialties and also produces other quality products such as appetizers, vegetables, and desserts that can be found in restaurants and retail stores in more than 160 countries around the world.

In Canada, the company has seven production facilities with approximately 2,400 employees and, in addition to its famous French fries and potato specialties, makes frozen desserts, snacks, and appetizers.

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