BCCAI wraps up Pacific Agriculture Show with insightful discussions on the future of agriculture and new partnership announcements

January 31, 2024

The B.C. Centre for Agritech Innovation made its presence felt at this year’s Pacific Agriculture Show in Abbostford with a slate of events and announcements that brought the future of agriculture into sharp focus.

BCCAI announced funding for 13 new agritech projects that aim to boost British Columbia’s economy. Throughout the three-day show, BCCAI also hosted lively panel discussions focused on innovation, international collaboration and the adoption of new technologies. BCCAI staff interacted with a steady stream of show attendees stopping by its booth to learn more about the centre and discuss future partnerships and networking opportunities.  

“Our participation at the Pacific Agriculture Show underscored our dedication to advancing agritech innovation,” said Dr. Woo Soo Kim, BCCAI scientific director. “By collaborating with agriproducers and facilitating insightful discussions, we aim to drive transformative changes in the agricultural landscape.”

Thirteen new projects announced

Dr. Kim joined B.C. Minister of Agriculture and Food Pam Alexis and other partners to announce the slate of agritech projects it is supporting through the Pacific Economic Development Canada (PacifiCan) and the Province of British Columbia.

The 13 new projects aim to solve critical challenges facing food producers in B.C., including soil health, pest and pathogen management, Indigenous food sovereignty and training opportunities.

Together, the projects represent a total investment of $2 million, including more than $650,000 from BCCAI.

“We are thrilled to announce the funding for 13 new projects that will contribute to the advancement of B.C.'s food sovereignty,” said Kim. “We look forward to collaborating with these companies on projects and upskilling programs, positioning B.C. as a global agritech leader and addressing critical agricultural challenges.”

See the official news release from the Province of British Columbia for more information.

Talk of the show

The centerpiece of BCCAI’s programming at the Pacific Agriculture Show was hosting a number of well-attended panels delving into the future of agriculture.

At the “Agritech Innovation: Smart Solutions for BC Producers” panel, speakers highlighted the importance of aligning artificial intelligence with traditional cultivation practices to improve crop yields.

The conversation delved into the significance of seamlessly integrating cutting-edge technology into the fabric of traditional farming methods. Newton Sahota, CEO of Twinberry Farms, Dean Maerz, operations manager at Klaassen Farms and Bryan van Hoepen, a grower at Stoney Creek, emphasized that by bridging the gap between AI-driven innovations and age-old agricultural techniques, there lies a transformative potential to optimize production efficiency, mitigate environmental impact and foster sustainable farming practices.

The panel “Working Together, Working Better: B.C. and the Netherlands Developing and Using Technology” brought together local partners and representatives from the Wageningen University & Research (WUR) in the Netherlands to share insights about their partnerships with the province and recent advancements in greenhouse horticulture.

The panel was another example of how WUR and BCCAI have partnered to explore collaborative opportunities in agricultural technology since the Dutch university signed an agreement with B.C. in 2022.

BCCAI also hosted a speaker session discussing agritech and farm labour.

Chuck Baresich, general manager of Haggerty AgRobotics and Anshul Porwal, CEO and co-founder of NeuPeak Robotics shared the stage to present how they’ve integrated robotic technologies, artificial intelligence and automation into their businesses and emphasized the pivotal role these advancements play in streamlining farm operations and enhancing overall efficiency.