SW Ontario-Based Innovator Becoming Global Agtech Player


Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, January 9, 2024 – The Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN) today unveiled the first story of an eight-part series highlighting results of the AgTech research & innovation projects it has funded through its 2022 Open Competition and its Beef & Pork Primary Processing Automation & Robotics Program.

CAAIN’s mandate from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) is to fund technological responses to the most significant opportunities and challenges facing the nation’s agri-food producers and primary processors. That means supporting promising efforts with the potential to provide economic or environmental value. The featured stories demonstrate that CAAIN is doing just that, as does the $30M it is investing in 24 projects with a combined total value of roughly $90M.

“Our team is proud of our project partners and the brilliant innovations we are able to support thanks to our ISED funding,” explained Darrell Petras, CAAIN’s CEO. “By sharing their stories, we help Canadians understand and appreciate the work that goes into putting food on our tables, and the kind of progress being made by the country’s agricultural innovators to keep it there. The size of our projects varies greatly, but what remains constant is their quality and the value they will return.”

The research being conducted through CAAIN-supported projects is nothing short of extraordinary, as is amply demonstrated by the story being launched today. SoilOptix®: Advancing Processes to Predicting Soil Organic Carbon carries a modest $199,284 price tag, $67,533 of which is being reimbursed by CAAIN. The value of the results being delivered by SoilOptix massively outweighs the level of investment. In addition to using gamma rays to determine topsoil composition and tell producers anywhere in the world exactly what is in the upper layers of their dirt, SoilOptix is developing the capacity to assess a patch of land’s capacity to store soil organic carbon, an important component of regenerative agriculture. The goal of this project is to allow for more precise, efficient, and effective use of inputs, optimising expenditures, reducing environmental impact, and increasing productivity and profitability.

For more information, read the story online.


“Efficiently feeding Canadians and an expanding global population in a way that is environmentally sustainable requires innovative solutions. This project is an excellent example of how new technologies and innovations can tackle serious challenges facing Canada’s food producers and primary processors. We are proud to partner with CAAIN, which plays a key role in supporting the creation and adoption of new knowledge and technology to make Canada’s agriculture sector even more competitive. ” 

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

“Advancements in technology are key to keeping our farmers on the cutting edge. This project will help Canadian producers to accurately assess the carbon capture potential of their farms and help make their operations more efficient. Investments in innovative projects like these demonstrate our commitment to growth and improving the sustainability of Canada’s agricultural sector. ”

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

“Supporting the private-sector delivery of innovative solutions is what CAAIN is all about. The technology from SoilOptix is helping farmers understand their soil conditions better, giving them the information to help improve growing conditions and improve their productivity.”

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.

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Project Funding Inquiries
Darrell Petras, P.Ag.
Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network
Media Inquiries
Eric Morin, CMP
Manager, Communications and Marketing
Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network
780.405.3742 | eric.morin@caain.ca