B.C. farmers looking to grow their businesses in the face of rising costs are getting support for accessing new technologies from items such as robotic and automated equipment, farm-management software and digital sensors, which will help them increase production, efficiency and profitability.
The new B.C. On-Farm Technology Adoption Program will provide as much as $3 million over the next two years from the governments of Canada and British Columbia.
“Farmers across Canada are working to meet the growing demand for their world-class products, but the cost of new on-farm technologies can be a barrier,” said Lawrence MacAulay, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “Today's investment with British Columbia will provide them with the support they need to succeed and remain competitive, while strengthening the province’s agricultural sector.”
The program will provide immediate assistance to B.C. farmers so they can access on-farm technologies and innovations to help deal with the effects of labour shortages and operational cost increases due to inflation and supply-chain disruptions.
“We are listening to B.C. farmers and know that the cost to upgrade or introduce new technologies is a barrier for many, especially those with smaller farm operations,” said Pam Alexis, B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture and Food. “With this new program, we’re providing support that can help farmers, now and in the future, so they can be more competitive, improve their bottom line and produce more food to feed our communities.”
Applications for first year of the program will open on Monday, Nov. 27, 2023, and will be accepted until Dec. 22, 2023, or until funds are fully allocated. Innovate BC, through the Integrated Marketplace initiative, will deliver the program.
The B.C. On-Farm Technology Adoption Program is funded through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year (April 1, 2023, until March 31, 2028), $3.5-billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the competitiveness, innovation and resilience of the agriculture, agrifood and agriculture‐based products sector. This includes $1 billion in federal programs and activities and a $2.5-billion commitment, which is cost-shared 60% federally and 40% provincially/territorially, for programs designed and delivered by provinces and territories.
James Bergen, owner, Bergen Farms –
“Without innovation, there is no forward progress. I have seen first-hand the benefits of adopting proven growing methods that are used elsewhere in the world. I am certain that this program will help growers in adopting innovative farming techniques that will improve efficiency, increase yields and allow for better management of resources.”
Tomica Divic, interim president and CEO, Innovate BC –
“Through the B.C. On-Farm Technology Adoption Program, B.C. farmers will receive direct support to modernize and enhance their operations with innovative technologies. Innovate BC is thrilled to collaborate with our government partners to deliver this program in an effort to strengthen the province’s agricultural sector and bolster its impact locally and beyond.”
- The B.C. On-Farm Technology Adoption Program provides funding directly to B.C. farmers so they can adopt proven, commercial technologies that already exist in the marketplace.
- B.C.’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food funds other programs that include components of agritech adoption on farms, such as traceability programs (supports adoption of new traceability technologies) and the Beneficial Management Practices Program (supports adoption of technologies that reduce environmental impact).
- The B.C. On-Farm Technology Adoption Program is part of a suite of programs offered by Innovate BC through the Integrated Marketplace initiative.
- The Integrated Marketplace was developed by the Province of British Columbia as part of the StrongerBC Economic Plan and supported by PacifiCan.
B.C. On-Farm Technology Adoption Program: https://www.innovatebc.ca/programs/bc-on-farm
Sustainable Canadian Agriculture Partnership Program:
B.C. traceability funding programs:
Beneficial Management Practices Program:
For more about Innovate BC: https://www.innovatebc.ca/
A backgrounder follows.