Smart Farm Network Led by Alberta College Makes the Grade

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, June 17, 2021 – The Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN) has unveiled a second project to be funded through its 2020 Closed Competition. Pan-Canadian Smart Farm Network Development is an initiative led by Olds College.

“Supporting the development of smart farms is one of our three mandated research pillars,” said CAAIN CEO, Kerry Wright. “When Olds College submitted this project for consideration, our team was immediately intrigued. Smart farms serve three key functions: First, they validate the use of innovative agricultural technology in a specific environment. Second, they demonstrate new tools and opportunities to local producers. Third, and definitely not least, they provide opportunities to train students enrolled in post-secondary agriculture programs on the latest trends in ag-tech. The network concept’s advantage is the opportunity to link smart farms across the country, thereby multiplying learnings and increasing the value of any data generated.”

Pan-Canadian Smart Farm Network Development is a $2.9M initiative that will receive just over $1.1M in CAAIN funding over the next three years. The hope is that this partnership, which includes Lakeland College in Alberta and a Glacier FarmMedia Discovery farm in Saskatchewan, will expand over time to include similar operations in other provinces.

“Our activities will initially focus on assessment and validation of crop, climate, and soil data collection and connectivity of sensors, including exploring alternative methods of connectivity,” explained project lead and Olds College Associate Vice-President of Applied Research, Joy Agnew. “Over time, we expect to expand this list to include development, validation, and demonstration of additional agriculture technologies such as prescription mapping and variable-rate applications, autonomous agricultural equipment, remote sensing and advanced imagery, regenerative agriculture practices, and more.”

CAAIN expects to contribute a total of approximately $15M to the nine winners of its Closed Competition, which involve 24 project partners including small and medium-sized enterprises, large firms and academic collaborators, and will announce details of the other seven recipients over the coming weeks.


“Our government is pleased to support the development of new and exciting innovative technologies in all sectors of the economy, including agriculture. With our support, CAAIN fosters the development and implementation of new tools and amplifies innovative agricultural technologies and knowledge that will support the long-term growth and good jobs in this important sector.”

Hon. François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“Initiatives such as ‘Smart Farms’ are key to ensuring Canada continues to lead the world in developing innovative agricultural technologies. We are focusing our efforts on the adoption of new, more efficient tools and more environmentally-friendly practices to drive growth in the agricultural industry.”

Hon Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Smart agriculture and smart farms connect agriculture, equipment manufacturing, food processing, data and analytics; and pure technology to bring food security within reach. Through CAAIN we can have a tremendous impact on sustainable food production through innovative technologies.”

Laura Kilcrease, Chair, CAAIN Board of Directors



The Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network is a not-for-profit company launched in July 2019 with funding of $49.5‑million from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund and assistance from Alberta Innovates in the form of significant in-kind contributions. CAAIN connects and invests in Canada’s agri-food and technology sectors to drive innovation and productivity.   Twitter   LinkedIn

Project Funding Inquiries

Kerry Wright
Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network

Media Inquiries (CAAIN)

Eric Morin, CMP
Manager, Communications and Marketing
Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network

Media Inquiries (Olds College)

Blayne Meek
Director, Corporate Communications and Marketing
Olds College