An investment of almost $3.2 million will support 10 projects that will develop and advance smart technologies to enhance food production through digital solutions and automation.

Smart agriculture focuses on the development and application of innovative technology to increase the quantity and quality of agriculture and agri-food products. The projects will help to increase productivity, reduce waste and the environmental footprint of production, and decrease costs for Alberta farmers.

Funding is being delivered through Alberta Innovates’ Smart Agriculture and Food Digitalization and Automation Challenge.

Alberta Innovates anticipates that these projects have the potential to create 31 immediate jobs and a projected 113 new jobs once new products and services are commercialized and deployed.

“Alberta’s producers have always been on the cutting edge of innovative agricultural practices. This investment exemplifies our leadership in practical solutions for the agri-food industry and shows our ongoing commitment to sustainable stewardship of our province’s abundant natural resources.”

Nate Horner, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development

“Alberta’s agri-food sector is growing exponentially, another indicator of the strength of our province’s innovation economy. This investment supports more made-in-Alberta solutions to address challenges in the agri-food sector and will increase competitiveness on the global stage. We are seeing economic diversification in our province and advances in agricultural technology is a perfect example.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation

“Feeding a hungry planet is a challenge for the whole world. The technologies and innovations developed right here in Alberta, through the Smart Agriculture and Food Digitalization and Automation Challenge program, will address that challenge head on. We congratulate all the successful applicants in this year’s competition and we can’t wait to see what comes next.”

Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates

“This funding is helping Wyvern deliver high-resolution satellite imaging to the agriculture industry in an affordable and scalable way. This support allows us to work with innovative partners in the ecosystem, capture data on a test farm to evaluate use cases in real time, and is supporting the development of a prototype to further our proprietary deployable optics camera. This funding will further position both Wyvern and Alberta as leaders in smart agriculture solutions while delivering tangible results to the industry: helping farmers produce more food for less, saving farmers money and reducing agriculture’s impact on the environment.”

Chris Robson, CEO, Wyvern

One of the funded projects includes the development of a hyperspectral optics camera to capture high-resolution images of farmland from space. This advanced imaging technique collects hundreds of images at different wavelengths to form 3D data that allow details usually invisible to conventional imaging, such as pests and diseases, to be more accurately detected. These detailed vegetation images will help farmers determine crop health and perform moisture mapping to get the most out of the growing season.

Another funded project involves the development of an artificial intelligence data recording kit, which enables the creation of a digital twin of the farming environment. This allows conventional tractors like land rollers to be converted to autonomous tractors.

Alberta Innovates first launched the Smart Agriculture and Food Digitalization and Automation Challenge in 2020, and program intake for 2021-22 opened in July 2021. The program funds projects that provide solutions to challenges in the agri-food industry and have social, economic and environmental benefits.

Successful applicants will receive up to 75 per cent of eligible project costs to a maximum of $500,000 per project. 

Funded projects




Agriculture and Agri-food Canada

Developing robotic approaches to enhance beef grading


Agriculture and Agri-food Canada

Artificial intelligence for pork meat classification based on quality attributes


Carbon Asset Solutions Ltd.

Mapping and validating soil-based carbon through automated use of mobile inelastic neutron-scattering technologies to promote regenerative agriculture


iClassifier Inc.

Automation of trait scoring for dairy cows


Mojow Autonomous Solutions Inc.

Artificial intelligence data recording kit, which enables autonomous farm machinery


Lakeland College

Optimization of non-contact sensing technologies to enhance the sustainability of bison farming


Lakeland College

Smart hand-held device for automatic blood analysis, allowing for the innovative prediction of sheep pregnancy and litter size


Pawlutions Ltd.

A smart technology system that facilitates wireless control of power takeoff in tractors


University of Alberta

Defining soil health in the digital age: using machine learning to predict and assess the impact of agricultural practices on soil health across Alberta


Wyvern Incorporated

Development of a hyperspectral deployable optics camera to enable cost-effective and continuous agricultural insights from space


Quick facts

  • Alberta Innovates is a public agency that reports to the Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation.
  • In 2021, Alberta’s agri-food industries contributed $8.1 billion in gross domestic product and employed 58,300 Albertans.
  • Alberta is the third-largest exporter of agri-food products in Canada.
    • In 2021, Alberta’s agricultural exports totalled more than $14.1 billion, with $5.9 billion in primary agricultural products and $8.2 billion in value-added products.
    • As Canada’s leading beef-producing province, Alberta is also a significant exporter of beef and live cattle.
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