Dicklands Farms in Chilliwack is one of 10 agricultural operations province wide receiving government funding through the the Canada-British Columbia Agri-Innovation Program.
Dicklands is receiving $165,000 to help design and develop a low-emission dairy barn that will capture and clean barn air, and control barn temperature and humidity. If successful, Dicklands Farms will provide a roadmap to lowering greenhouse gas emissions from the dairy sector, and by controlling the environment inside their barns, individual dairy farmers will be able to keep their cows healthy and safe during extreme weather, while increasing productivity.
“Consumer demand is changing, and environmental sustainability is becoming increasingly important,” said George Dick, farm manager at Dicklands Farms, in a government news release. “The idea behind this barn is to create a way for B.C.’s dairy industry to dramatically reduce its carbon footprint by eradicating greenhouse gas emissions from enteric fermentation.”
The Canada-British Columbia Agri-Innovation Program is a joint initiative of the provincial and federal governments, aimed at fighting climate change, addressing labour shortages, increasing profitability and increasing adoption of regenerative agriculture practices. The program is administered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC.
“Protecting the environment and enhancing food security are top of mind for British Columbians and our New Democrat government,” said Chilliwack MLA Dan Coulter. “That’s why we are making historic investments in agritech, including this grant going to Dicklands Farms here in Chilliwack that will help produce dairy products with lower emissions.”
Victoria-based Docantheon Horticulture is another project receiving funding. An investment of $15,000 will go towards building the ‘Zero,’ a three-wheel electric-powered mini-tractor prototype that allows the operator to lie face down as it rolls slowly down field rows to perform planting, hand weeding or harvesting tasks. Zero requires no extra bed space to operate and no bending to plant, weed and harvest.
The goal of Zero is to reduce worker fatigue while increasing productivity.
“We are seeing innovative and cutting-edge solutions being developed in the B.C. agritech industry, with funding through this program in response to issues such as climate change, labour shortages and food security,” said Lana Popham, B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture and Food. “The collaboration between technology and agriculture is creating new opportunities for B.C. farmers and helping to grow and strengthen our provincial food system for future generations.”
To date, more than $11.3 million in funding has been distributed through the Canada-British Columbia Agri-Innovation Program.