An Agassiz company will be receiving more than $250,000 from the provincial government to help figure out how farmers can use dairy manure instead of wood for things like sawdust and shavings.
On Friday, March 26, the provincial government announced $7.5 million in funding for agricultural technology projects across the province. These include piloting innovations in seaweed cultivation, developing biosensors to monitor agricultural pathogens and creating non-polluting micro-nutrient fertilizers.
Locally, Point 3 Biotech received a $255,000 grant to develop a community-scale manure management system, that will demonstrate how to reclaim fibre from dairy manure to use in poultry barns and mushroom production.
Fibre in dairy manure is typically the undigested solids remaining after manure is processed to remove the methane gas (used in some energy plants) and liquids (used as fertilizer).
Point 3 Biotech is based in Toronto, but partnered with the Catalyst Agri-Innovations Society to work with an anaerobic digester at Abbotsford’s Bakerview EcoDairy. According to Chilliwack-Kent MLA Kelli Paddon, the grant application for Point 3 Biotech came from Agassiz.
The group includes more than 20 technology pioneers who have been working on different ways to process manure fibre for use in agriculture. Their project will focus on manure from dairy cows that bed on sand, and will see the fibre used for hog fuel, shavings, sawdust and compost.
The Bakerview EcoDairy also received a $230,000 to pilot a block chain encrypted information management system to follow beef products from the farm to the consumer.
Other local projects include BW Global’s project to learn how to de-carbonized greenhouse food production and i-Open Technologies Inc.’s plan to use mapping applications to build compliance with regulations while being more efficient with resources. Both are located in Abbotsford and were awarded $500,000 each.
Trident Processes, also in Abbotsford, was awarded $410,000 to see if there is a business case and community need for a system to process agricultural wastewater into biomass, nutrients and water.
The funding announcement also showcased B.C.’s new Agritech Concierge Program, which is intended to help businesses navigate bureaucratic systems.
The program is available to all B.C. agritech companies, and will hopefully help them grow and diversify. It will also help companies find opportunities within the agricultural land reserve to grow their business’ footprint, as well as connect with other levels of government.
“I know in our area there’s innovation happening all the time, and we just don’t want systems to get in the way of that,” Paddon said.