KINCARDINE — The Ontario government has announced the second phase of the Agri-tech Innovation Program is now open.
The phase, known as the Innovator Stream, is 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 agri-food workers and increasing productivity.
Officials say this money will help the industry address pandemic-related challenges, ongoing labour shortages, and create new opportunities for growth across the sector.
“Investing in new technology will have tremendous potential to help our agri-food industry meet many of the current challenges it faces,” said Lisa Thompson, Huron-Bruce MPP and Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
“I’m calling on agri-food businesses, commodity organizations and technology providers to join this exciting new initiative and help protect the safety of agri-food workers, while ensuring Ontario’s agri-food sector continues to lead across North American and around the world.”
The Innovator Stream intake focuses on ground-breaking 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.
“Innovation is the driving force of competitiveness in modern agriculture, and the key to protecting our workforce while ensuring long-term success,” said Thompson.
The Innovators Stream intake will run from Aug. 19 to Sept. 27.
More information and application forms are available online at http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/about/agritechinnovation.htm.