Invest Ottawa and Algonquin College join forces to propel agricultural innovation at Ottawa Smart Farm Powered by AgExpert

Posted in News, Press Releases
May 16, 2024

Algonquin College and Area X.O operated by Invest Ottawa logos

OTTAWA, May 16, 2024 — Invest Ottawa, lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries, and Algonquin College, today announced a strategic partnership that will enable new agricultural innovation, research and science at the Ottawa Smart Farm powered by AgExpert (Farm Credit Canada’s whole farm management system), located at Area X.O. Building on shared goals, this new partnership will directly support agtech R&D led by researchers, companies and producers, helping to fuel the future adoption of new solutions and their impact on farmers. These emerging innovations will further increase the sustainability, profitability and productivity of producers, and our agriculture sector as a whole.

Harnessing the collective expertise and resources of both partners, this collaboration drives the continued evolution of the Ottawa Smart Farm, established by Invest Ottawa and the City of Ottawa, with critical support from Farm Credit Canada (FCC).

“We are extremely excited about this new partnership,” said Claude Brulé, Algonquin College President, and CEO. “This is a unique opportunity to share our expertise with an important local industry while also collaborating in a meaningful way that will offer a unique experience to our students. We look forward to teaming up with Invest Ottawa and the Ottawa Smart Farm, powered by AgExpert to bring about real changes and improvements in agricultural science and research.”

The partnership with Algonquin College will build upon the capabilities at the Ottawa Smart Farm, powered by AgExpert, and further expand the R&D undertaken at the agtech smart farm.

“It is an honour to collaborate with Algonquin College on our shared objectives at the Ottawa Smart Farm powered by AgExpert,” said Sonya Shorey, Interim President, and CEO, Invest Ottawa. “Leveraging Algonquin’s exceptional research talent, agricultural science expertise and strong local producer and industry relationships, we will fuel new agtech discoveries and solutions. This will directly support the development, commercialization and application of new technologies that can help increase the productivity, profitability and long-term sustainability of producers and fuel the competitiveness of Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector.”

Algonquin College’s expertise in applied research and agricultural science will make a significant contribution to the program’s success, providing practical solutions to everyday issues, addressing modern challenges and creating new and innovative products, services, and results.

In conjunction with the Business-Agriculture program at Algonquin College’s Perth Campus and the Office of Applied Research, two specialists will be dedicated to the initiative, including a certified crop advisor (agronomist) and an agri-business leader. These specialists will play integral roles in the program, undertaking a wide range of responsibilities including recommending crops, seeds, fertilizer, soil amendments and other inputs, scouting crops for pests and diseases and providing essential support to researchers to meet research or project objectives. This will be in addition to incorporating technology to develop new ways of working, including autonomous tractors, drones to monitor crops and AI to predict greenhouse gas emissions and crop yields.

Leveraging critical support from the City of Ottawa and FCC, Invest Ottawa has established unique capabilities at the Ottawa Smart Farm powered by AgExpert. One of only four anchor smart farms in FCC’s national network, the R&D site provides producers, innovators, and firms with access to leading technologies, resources, and expertise, including:

  • one of the world’s most advanced communications test systems;
  • state-of-the-art AI and data analytic technologies;
  • 100 acres of secure, completely gated farmland and demonstration area; and
  • the highest concentration of tech talent per capita in North America (CBRE).

These capabilities empower smart agriculture and data-driven decision-making, boosting the productivity, performance and profitability of producers. These resources help to:

  • accelerate the development, commercialization, and application of new agtech solutions;
  • catalyze fresh global market opportunities for agtech innovators, startups, and companies; and foster the creation of new agtech products, companies, and jobs in the nation’s capital.

The partnership will provide greater support for researchers, entrepreneurs and producers, and further contribute to local, national and global sustainability goals and priorities such as food safety, security and climate change. This collaborative approach will facilitate the expansion of research initiatives, support for local entrepreneurs and enhancement of contributions to sustainability and environmental stewardship.

About the Ottawa Smart Farm Powered by AgExpert
Established by Invest Ottawa and the City of Ottawa at Area X.O in 2020, the Ottawa Smart Farm powered by AgExpert empowers producers and innovators to create, test, demonstrate, and commercialize new agricultural technologies. These include autonomous tractors, drones and advanced robotics, the Internet of Things, sensors and data analytics, and advanced communications, and other related technologies. These emerging solutions can help producers improve crop yield and quality, optimize production efficiency and costs, reduce waste and carbon emissions from agricultural operations, enhance food safety and security, and strengthen overall farm management, performance, and productivity. For additional information, please visit:

About Invest Ottawa
Invest Ottawa is the lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries in Canada’s Capital Region, facilitating economic growth and job creation in Ottawa. Guided by a vision to help realize Ottawa’s full potential as a globally recognized, innovative, inclusive, and future-ready city, Invest Ottawa delivers venture development, global expansion and talent programs and services that catalyze the growth and success of entrepreneurs and firms. These include small business training, mentorship, acceleration for technology firms, foreign business and investment attraction, local business retention and expansion in targeted sectors, commercialization and marketing Ottawa’s diversified economy and high quality of life. Invest Ottawa is also the manager of Bayview Yards, Ottawa’s innovation hub and one-stop business acceleration shop, and founder and operator of Area X.O, the R&D complex for next-gen smart mobility, autonomy, and connectivity technologies. Since 2013, Invest Ottawa has supported almost 14,000 companies, contributed to the creation of more than 14,700 jobs, helped domestic companies raise $1.86 billion in capital and attracted $1.47 billion in domestic and foreign direct investment to Ottawa.

About Algonquin College
The mission of Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology is to transform hopes and dreams into lifelong success. Algonquin College, an Ontario public sector polytechnic college, does this by offering hands-on, digitally connected, experiential learning in more than 250 programs. Algonquin College is the largest polytechnic institute in Eastern Ontario, with campuses in Ottawa, Perth, Pembroke and AC Online.

About Area X.O
Area X.O is the R&D complex in Canada’s Capital that enables and accelerates the safe and secure development, testing, and adoption of next-generation smart mobility, autonomy, and connectivity technologies. Area X.O helps startups, SMEs, multinationals, and governments address grand challenges and opportunities, and get to market faster. Combining diverse expertise with Ottawa’s telecom and cybersecurity strengths as a global tech hub and operating one of the most advanced communications infrastructures in the world, it is the only all-weather R&D complex of its kind in North America with a private and public Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) test facility on city streets that fuels the creation, commercialization, and adoption of breakthrough smart mobility innovations. These applications benefit our community, economy, and environment, and span: telecom, smart agriculture, defence, security, and public safety; unmanned aerial vehicles, and smart cities. Established and managed by Invest Ottawa, Area X.O leverages critical support from world-class founding partners, including: the Government of Canada (through FedDev Ontario), the Government of Ontario (through the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network managed by the Ontario Centre of Innovation), the City of Ottawa, Accenture, BlackBerry QNX, Ericsson, Microsoft, Nokia, and Ottawa’s post-secondary institutions.

Media Contacts
For more information, media are invited to contact:

Algonquin College
Sara-Lynne Levine
Communications Officer
[email protected]

Invest Ottawa
Patrick Kenny
Senior Director of Marketing and Communications
[email protected]

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