Farmers Edge Precision Ag for Protein

  • September 8, 2021
  • William Payne

Canadian precision agriculture tech specialist Farmers Edge and Canadian non-GMO pea protein producer Merit Functional Foods have launched a pilot programme aimed at improving the production, quality, traceability, and marketing opportunities of Canadian protein crops.

Merit is the first producer to market non-GMO canola protein. The new programme will improve the efficiency, sustainability, and competitiveness of the ingredients produced by Merit. The two companies aim to increase returns for growers and help create a reliable food supply to meet an increasing demand.

The two companies aim to address a market that is growing rapidly. Over 240 foodtech companies received funding in the first quarter of this year, and a recent report indicates that the industry hit a total value of $35.6 billion in 2020, and that value is expected to grow significantly in the coming years.

The partnership between the two companies aims to leverage connected field sensors and big data analytics to create a high-tech solution that enhances predictive modelling, digital traceability, and connectivity within the agri-food supply chain. The pilot’s marketing element will focus on matching buyers to producers, executing contracts, and searching out or monitoring regulatory and other standards. A fully digitised, streamlined process makes it easy for producers to participate in the programme and access higher-value global markets, which leads to increased farm income.

As the demand for plant protein rises, so does the demand for transparency in the market and the ability to trace the origin of foods back to the farm. Traceability audits have gone from a one-page check-list to a binder of paperwork to verify crop production data. Farmers Edge provides a digital platform that includes crop types, plant dates, applications, predicted yields, harvested yields, historical practices, and other field data. This information is automatically stored in a format which makes traceability a clear-cut process. Farmers Edge growers can diversify their portfolio of market opportunities to meet the evolving needs of consumers, and food companies can more easily source top-quality ingredients with the verified records they need for labelling and marketing.

“This new programme designed by Farmers Edge is the perfect match for Merit’s plant protein ingredient solutions,” said Dan Kraft, VP of Operations for Merit. “We can source the highest quality, non-GMO ingredients for our customers, while rewarding growers for their modern farming practices. The transparency of this platform provides food companies and consumers with assurance that their food was produced in a way that meets regulatory standards and best aligns with their values and expanded expectations.”

“This collaboration with Merit adds another layer of value to digital adoption,” said Wade Barnes, Farmers Edge CEO and Founder. “As a farmer myself, I know how much effort is required to meet increasing demands for transparency and traceability. Our unique infrastructure equips growers with tools to manage data digitally, to track applications automatically, and to generate reports more effortlessly. Consumers can easily track the food on their plate back to the farm that it came from, and that provides peace of mind.”