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Ontario opens funding round for automation in agri-food production


Agri-food producers looking to implement pilot projects in robotics and artificial intelligence can apply for funding through a new stream of Ontario’s Agri-tech Innovation Program.

The Innovator Stream is the targeted second phase of the Agri-tech Innovation Program, a $22-million program launched in April to provide up to 60 per cent funding for eligible costs, to a maximum of $750,000, to develop larger-scale collaboration projects aimed at enhancing the health and safety of workers and increasing productivity.

The intake focuses on groundbreaking projects where innovation — such as piloting the use of autonomous farm equipment in an operational environment — is new to Ontario, North America or the agri-sector.

Funding eligibility will include targeted, specialized, high-impact projects that pilot or demonstrate cutting-edge technology. Projects will require collaboration between at least two agri-food businesses, organizations and agri-food technology providers or developers.

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Potential project focus areas could include for example innovation for crop production, for livestock or poultry production or for food preparation, processing and production.

The Innovators Stream intake will run from Aug. 19 to Sept. 27, 2021.

Eligible applications will be assessed using a merit-based review process once the intake closes.