Innovative Approaches to Beef- and Pork-Sector Automation

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, August 8, 2023–The Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN) today announced the two recipients the $5M Beef and Pork Primary Processing Automation and Robotics Program it launched in March 2022 to foster the development and adoption of innovative technology-based solutions to challenges facing red meat processors.

“Our team is pleased to support these two projects as they seek to improve Canada’s red meat primary processing sector,” said Darrell Petras, CAAIN’s CEO. “The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted ongoing industry issues associated with labour shortages, worker safety and productivity, and supply chain disruptions. Because we engaged beef and pork industry stakeholders in broad-based consultations and one-on-one discussions to determine key priorities, we’re confident the projects we selected will make a real difference. Both recipients will employ state-of-the-art technology to automate specific elements of small and medium-sized processing plants. In the long term, their efforts will advance the safety and profitability of Canada’s red-meat sector, thereby contributing to our country’s food security.”

CAAIN’s mandate from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada is to focus its funding on technological advancements of importance to the agri-food sector. This announcement is further evidence of the organization’s commitment to supporting the development of technology needed to advance Canadian agriculture and primary food processing.

“The projects we’re unveiling today are seeking solutions to different issues,” said Mr. Petras.  “One, led by Manitoba-based mode40, uses a meat quality management system to standardize and automate cooling of beef and pork carcasses. The other is run by Waterloo, Ontario’s, P&P Optica, and focuses on optimizing pork production by improving and integrating sources of data available from and to stakeholders along the supply chain. Despite their differences, both groups have two things in common. First, is their use of the latest technology, including artificial intelligence, to advance the sector. Second, is their shared goal of improving meat quality and food safety. Those factors, their attention to detail, and the quality of the partnerships they have created to deliver their results, tipped the scales in their favour, and convinced us to support the projects.”

When added to the $23.4M CAAIN expects to provide to the 23 successful applicants of its first three competitions, the $3.5M that will be used to support these beef and pork processing projects pushes CAAIN’S funding commitments to nearly $27M. Details are available online at

To read about the mode40 project, click here.

To read about, P&P Optica project, click here.


“Our government recognizes the need to address existing gaps in the Canadian meat processing sector. Through the Beef and Pork Primary Processing Automation and Robotics Program, we are committed to supporting the agri-food industry in adopting cutting-edge technologies. This initiative aims to enhance efficiency, promote food safety practices, and create a positive work environment for Canadian workers, ultimately strengthening the sector.” 

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“Supporting innovation and science in agriculture is a priority for the Government of Canada. These investments in cutting-edge automation and food inspection technologies will enable the meat processing sector to increase efficiencies, while helping address labour shortages being felt in the sector. They will also improve food quality and safety, and help meet the growing demand for Canadian agricultural products at home and around the world.”

The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Canada already exports over half of its processed beef and 70 percent of its pork to international markets.  With increased demands for food security world-wide, these volumes will only increase in the future. These initiatives will advance technologies to help Canadian producers meet the needs of tomorrow globally.”

Laura Kilcrease, Chair, CAAIN Board of Directors



The Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN) is a not-for-profit company launched in July 2019 with funding of $49.5‑million from the Government of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund, and assistance from Alberta Innovates in the form of significant in-kind contributions. CAAIN drives collaborative agri-food technology research and innovation from coast to coast by performing three core functions. First, it supports the development of promising solutions to important challenges facing producers and primary food processors. Second, it is building an online, member-based network connecting Canada’s agricultural and technology stakeholders. Third, CAAIN is developing a digital platform to link nationwide, production-specific networks of smart farms, which will collaborate to validate and demonstrate emerging technology in diverse locations across the country.   Twitter   LinkedIn

Project Funding Inquiries
Darrell Petras, P.Ag.
Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network
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Eric Morin, CMP
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Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network
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