Three members of Canada’s Food & Agri-Tech Engine win innovation awards
By Lilian Schaer
The first in-person Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was a success for Bioenterprise, Canada’s Food & Agri-Tech Engine, and several of its members.
The Bioenterprise booth in the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Innovation Pavilion attracted a steady stream of visitors, including Minister Lisa Thompson. Bioenterprise also sponsored an AgTech Breakfast, and three of its members were recognized with innovation awards.
“Our booth was in a great location as part of the OMAFRA Innovation Pavilion and we were fortunate to be able to meet with Minister Thompson during her visit to talk about some of our upcoming initiatives and how Bioenterprise can support farmers and the agri-food sector through innovation,” says Carla Berquó, Director of Canada’s Food & Agri-Tech Engine and part of the Bioenterprise team that attended the show held September 13 to 15 in Woodstock.
Bioenterprise Canada was a host of the AgTech Breakfast, along with Desjardins, FCC, Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) and OMAFRA. The event was designed to connect agtech start-ups with farmers and featured presentations from many of the innovation award winners and a panel discussion featuring GFO, RH Accelerator and Haggerty Creek Robotics.
Bioenterprise helped nominate participating companies and Berquó served on the planning committee for the breakfast. She notes the morning event was also a great opportunity for the Bioenterprise team at the breakfast to connect with other Engine members, prospective members and representatives from partner organizations like the Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN) and the Canadian Agri-food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN).
Bioenterprise’s booth in the Innovation Pavilion was conveniently located near many of its members and funding program recipients, including Farm Health Guardian, Grain Discovery, BioLiNE, Ukko Agro and the Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association.
Engine member and funding program recipient Farm Health Guardian was named the winner of the Livestock category at the Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show Innovations Program for it’s Farm Health Protect system.
Farm Health Guardian is a digital biosecurity system that helps livestock and poultry farmers lower their cost of production by improving animal health and reducing disease risks. Its two main components are a real-time animal health record-keeping and reporting system called Farm Health Monitor, and Farm Health Protect, a biosecurity management system that creates a virtual perimeter around a farm and automatically and confidentially logs movement of trucks and people on and off the property.
“Receiving the Innovation Award for Livestock is a big boost for us” says Adam Black, Customer Support Co-ordinator with Farm Health Guardian. “It gives us more confidence and some recognition when approaching farmers to explain the benefits of digital biosecurity”.
Grain Discovery, a software system focused on simplifying the agri-food supply chain with software enabling buyers to streamline time consuming, manual processes and communicate more powerfully with their farmers, won the Business Solutions category.
A personalized market digitizing the handshake between farmer and their local grain buyers, the company will soon be launching traceability so that key commodity data like crop inputs and agronomic processing can be easily entered and shared. In addition to creating a valuable feedback loop for the supply chain, it will allow for the creation of a “digital passport” with the end consumer.
“There is a tremendous amount of exciting agtech coming out of Canada at the moment, and it’s an honour that Grain Discovery is recognized as an innovation winner at COFS,” says Rory O’Sullivan, Founder and CEO of Grain Discovery.
BioLiNE Corp. received the Environmental Sustainability award for its innovative technology that helps farmers improve the sustainability of food production. Its fulvic acid-based biostimulants support plants’ natural nutrition processes, such as improving nutrient availability, uptake or use efficiency, and increasing tolerance to stressors like heat or drought.
“It’s an honour to win the COFS Innovation award in environmental sustainability. As a technology development company, BioLiNE is focused on advancing the science and understanding of how biostimulants help and support crops,” says Jarrod Psutka, Research Scientist at BioLiNE. “To have our innovation recognized for its benefits to the environment and sustainability of farming motivates us to work harder in our efforts to unlock the potential for fulvic acids, and other biological products.”
“The support we receive through our engagement with Bioenterprise Canada has been tremendous. As Canada’s Food & Agri-Tech Engine, Bioenterprise has helped us tap into additional, funding support for our research and commercialization efforts,” adds Research Associate Breanne Black. “The commercialization support and industry exposure facilitated by our membership in Bioenterprise are significant in our ability to bring to market industry leading chemistries that focus on environmental sustainability while preserving yields for farmers.”