KAP News & Media

KAP News and Media

News Releases

April 6, 2016

KAP asks for investment in ag tech to put MB on the map

Keystone Agricultural Producers asked Manitoba’s political parties today to prioritize investment in agricultural innovation in order to build on what existing ag tech companies have done in the province.

“There has been a trend of declining investment in this area – and this needs to be reversed,” said KAP president Dan Mazier at an event attended by community leaders, researchers, members of Manitoba’s technology industry and the media.

KAP further called on politicians to make Manitoba the Canadian centre for ag innovation.

“Farmers are adopting technology at a record rate, creating the need for many more agricultural companies that can supply it. Someone can lead the way in creating a home for these companies – and we believe it can be Manitoba.”

Statistics show that every dollar invested in agricultural research returns about $10 worth of benefits to the economy. And on average, public agricultural research undertaken today will begin to noticeably influence agricultural productivity in as little as two years – and its impact could be felt for as long as 30 years.

The benefit of investing in agricultural research extends beyond national boundaries, too. When innovative agricultural technology companies get their start in Manitoba, they can move on to grow their customer base around the world – while keeping good jobs here at home.

“Drones, satellites, GPS, farm data analysis – these innovations are only the tip of the iceberg,” said Mazier. “We need companies here in Manitoban that can take new ideas and give us newer and better innovations.”
Wade Barnes, co-founder and CEO of Farmers Edge, a global leader in precision agriculture and independent data management solutions based in Winnipeg, also has faith in Manitoba’s capacity to become an ag technology hub.

“Hopefully Farmers Edge is a small part of a much larger technology ecosystem here in Manitoba,” he said.

His company recently attracted millions of dollars in investment from the Silicon Valley, but said no when investors wanted the company to move down there.

“We need to be here [in Manitoba] with real farmers,” Barnes said. “The agricultural expertise we have in this province is second to none. Manitoba farmers have the shortest window to harvest, so they are the masters of the trade.

“Many customers have sought us out – not just because we’re from Canada, but because we’re from Manitoba.”

Mazier hopes the incoming government will recognize these advantages when it looks at support and funding for ag technology.

“Success will be when we see a substantial increase in the number of researchers and research investment in Manitoba, when we attract sufficient capital investment into the province to support the commercialization and expansion of ag tech firms like Farmers Edge, and when we see technology adapted on Manitoba farms at a higher rate than anywhere else,” he said.


For more information
Dan Mazier, president – 204-720-4646
Val Ominski – communications – 204 -697-1140, extension 3