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The farmer’s almanac meets big data.

From pesticides and fertilizers to water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, farming can put stress on the planet. Agriculture accounted for 8 percent of Canada’s GHG emissions in 2015, and an even greater proportion globally.

Yet nobody is more ready to mind the land, cut waste and use resources more efficiently than farmers. So Winnipeg-based Farmers Edge set out to develop a solution. And they did it through data analytics, or what is now being referred to as “precision farming”.

With satellite imagery and data collected from weather stations installed on farms, the company is giving farmers the more granular information they need for making better decisions, like when to water crops and where exactly to send self-guided seeding tractors.

An investment mix that bears fruit.


Since 2005 when Manitoba agronomists Wade Barnes and Curtis MacKinnon founded Farmers Edge, the company has attracted tens of millions of dollars in international investment. It also got a boost with $6.1 million in funding from the federal Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).

After 12 years, the company now employs 450 people with clients spanning the Canadian prairies and reaching as far as Australia, Brazil, Russia, and the US.

Turning Canadian innovators into global competitors.

Accelerating clean innovation in Canada means helping environmental solutions attract the investment and capital they need to scale up and get to market. Timely injections of capital through government grants and loans can make a big difference.

Learn more through Smart Prosperity's latest work on Accelerating Clean Innovation.

ALSO: Here is the Globe and Mail’s take on precision farming.