On Friday, the federal government announced funding for new innovative solutions to help deal with the ongoing labour challenges in the ag sector. 

Under Phase 2 of the Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) program - Challenge Stream, five projects will each receive up to $1 million in funding.

The projects target the Canadian meat processing industry and the Canadian controlled environment agriculture industry - the concept is to advance automation and robotic technologies.

The projects approved for funding by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada under the Canadian Meat Processing Technology Development Challenge include:

Exonetik Inc.  - Developing a low-cost, collaborative robot to help automate tasks.
E.O.I Technologies Inc. - Developing sensors to collect data on fast-moving conveyor systems.

Under the Enhancing Automation in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Farming Challenge, projects include:

Exonetik Inc. - Developing a robotic arm to work alongside humans to harvest fruits and vegetables.
Mycionics Inc. - Developing a robotic mushroom harvester, packer and harvester lift.
Kinova Inc. - Developing a robotic arm to pick, harvest and de-leaf cucumbers and strawberries.

These five companies have developed ideas to address the challenges the agriculture industry faces with work productivity, labour shortages, and operational efficiency.

Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay says these cutting-edge solutions will help the sector to overcome some of the challenges ahead leading to a more prosperous and competitive future for Canadian agriculture.