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4 B.C. agri-businesses awarded $1.6M in federal funding for clean-technology projects

Projects designed to reduce runoff, get farms further off the grid and reduce fuel consumption

Four B.C. agri-businesses have received nearly $1.6 million to fund their green-tech projects.

The projects will aim to reduce farm runoff, and reduce reliance on the electrical grid and gasoline usage throughout the province. Two are in Abbotsford, and one is in Armstrong. The fourth, Lucent BioSciences Inc. at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, will receive the bulk of the funding at more than $1.3 million.

The announcement was made in a laboratory there Wednesday, by Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food.

Lucent BioSciences is developing sustainable solutions for crop fertilization, and is receiving up to $1,333,761 to develop natural-based, non-polluting micronutrients suitable for seed coating, a federal government news release said. They are aiming to help improve crop yields and use fertilizer more efficiently, which could reduce runoff of main ingredients in most fertilizers, known as NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium).

In addition to the funding to Lucent Bio, projects announced today under the Agricultural Clean Technology (ACT)– Adoption Stream include up to $70,457 for B JACK Farms in Abbotsford. They are installing a solar system and electric-powered farm equipment to reduce reliance on the electrical grid and gasoline fuel in the egg production process.

Up to $108,876 is earmarked for Abbotsford’s Blueberry Junction to install a solar system to reduce electrical grid consumption for their blueberry operation.

And up to $61,247 for Fresh Valley Farms in Armstrong will be used to install a solar system and an electrical pivot irrigation system on their organic farm to reduce reliance on the electrical grid and gasoline fuel usage.

With these new investments, the ACT Program has now supported 11 projects in B.C. representing a total of up to nearly $4.9 million.

“Our goal is to help the Canadian agricultural sector innovate and adopt clean technologies,” Bibeau said. “This new Agricultural Clean Technology Program investment will help to reduce the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions and leverage technology to be more resilient to climate change.”

“We’re honoured to receive support from the Agricultural Clean Technology Program, which will advance our research and development efforts in sustainable crop nutrition solutions,” said Michael Riedijk, CEO of Lucent BioSciences Inc. “The natural and climate-positive seed coating that we are developing with this grant has the potential to improve crop yields while reducing the environmental impact that current synthetic polymer coatings have. At Lucent BioSciences, we’re fully committed to building a more sustainable agricultural sector through innovation.”

The federal government has committed more than $1.5 billion to accelerate the agricultural sector’s progress on reducing emissions and to remain a global leader in sustainable agriculture. This includes $495.7 million for the Agricultural Clean Technology (ACT) Program. The government anticipates that its expansion of the ACT program will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 0.8 megaton each year, as a result of fuel switching and decreased fuel consumption.

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Jessica Peters

About the Author: Jessica Peters

I began my career in 1999, covering communities across the Fraser Valley ever since.
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