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New agriculture innovation funding applauded

Millions of dollars in recently-announced new funding to support agriculture technology and innovation is being welcomed by Olds College officials.
The federal minister of innovation, science and economic development announced last week that the Canadian Agri-food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN) will be receiving $49 million in federal funding.
The funds will be matched by industry and the private sector, say officials.
Olds College is one of the founding members of the network, which is made up of academia, research institutions and more than 60 technology and agri-food companies.
The network is focused on creating and integrating automated and digitized technology platforms within the agrifood sector.
The new funding will be a “catalyst for industry-led research and development that will help develop and mobilize new technologies and innovations into practice, to benefit Canadian agriculture and food companies and expand the sector’s leadership position globally,” said Olds College president Stuart Cullum.
“Olds College is excited to be a cornerstone of a national smart farm platform that will provide the network with living labs that represent the agriculture and agri-food value chain and provide real world context for the development and adoption of agri-tech innovations,” he said.
“We hear loud and clear from producers and industry partners that technology, such as automation and data is important, but it must be focused on real problems, and produce real value for adoption to occur.
“This is the driving force behind the development of the Olds College Smart Farm and will be reinforced by investments from the CAAIN.”
Nathan Cooper is the UCP MLA for Olds-Didsbury Three Hills.
“This is wonderful news for Olds College, our region and the entire province,” said Cooper. “For years, Olds College has been leading innovation. I am excited to see how this investment will help shape the future of the agricultural industry.”
Dr. Joy Agnew is the director of Olds College Centre for Innovation.
“This is the right investment at the right time for Canada’s agri-food sector,” said Agnew. “Since we launched the Smart Farm last year, Olds College has received unprecedented interest from traditional and non-traditional ag companies who see significant value in the ag-tech space.”
Companies are looking to “collaborate with Olds College on applied research projects including the demonstration and validation of new technologies and innovations,” she said.
Devin Dreeshen is Alberta’s Agriculture and Forestry Minister, as well as UCP MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake.
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