Innovation Saskatchewan is responsible for implementing the province’s innovation priorities and helping grow Saskatchewan’s tech sector. Effective April 2022, this includes operation of the Innovation Place technology parks in Saskatoon and Regina.

Roundtable with SK Ag Tech

Planting Seeds and Growing Opportunities in Ag Tech

Happy Canadian Agriculture Day! Agriculture is an important part of Saskatchewan's past, present and future and a key contributor to Canada’s agriculture sector too (we’re over 40% of Canada’s arable land!).

That’s why Innovation Place prioritizes Ag Tech as one of our key sectors. With 35+ Ag Tech companies composing over 25% of our park community, we make sure to provide a vibrant ecosystem for this thriving community where companies can access the critical infrastructure they need, connect with like-minded companies in the industry and, of course, innovate, innovate, innovate!

For Canadian Agriculture Day, we’re celebrating the awesome Ag Tech and Agri-Food Tech companies in our parks and how they’re pushing Canadian agriculture to the next level! We spoke with a few Ag Tech companies at the parks and highlight a few more doing exciting things. Take a look at what they’re up to below.

How does your company support the Canadian agriculture industry?

Metabolix Oilseeds: Metabolix Oilseeds (MOI) is based in Saskatoon and serves as the Canadian subsidiary and the Oilseed Center of Excellence for Boston-based Yield10 Bioscience, Inc. We are an agricultural bioscience company focused on using advances in biotechnology to develop high value traits for use in Camelina and other crops, including canola, and to use this new crop as a platform for producing superior varieties of Camelina to produce low-carbon fuel feedstock oils, nutritional oils and PHA bioplastics.

We’re supporting the Canadian agriculture industry by developing Camelina as a new crop. We are developing both spring and winter varieties for producing oil and meal, allowing for new crop rotation, crop diversification and cover cropping. Yields drive farm revenue, therefore our research is focused on developing high yielding varieties of Camelina for growers. Our work in new traits to boost seed yield or oil content in Camelina may also translate into canola and could represent another benefit to the industry as well.

VeriGrain: VeriGrain has developed a product which sets a new standard for stored grain quality and quantity determination and traceability in Canada and globally. This provides substantial economic benefits for growers and processors and to see more and better food make it to the consumer.

NRGene: In May 2020, NRGene expanded its operations and opened an office in Innovation Place and established a new genotyping lab strategically located in Saskatoon’s agriculture research cluster, close to institutions such as the University of Saskatchewan, and national federal and provincial agencies including Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Canadian Light-Source, National Research Council Canada and others. This allows NRGene to maintain and strengthen long-term relationships with current and potential industry partners throughout the Canadian Ag-tech community.

NRGene has strong relationships with its Canadian partners and is involved in many projects with local industry, academia and governmental entities. Throughout the years, multiple successful collaborations have been established in Saskatchewan with the University of Saskatchewan, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and other local commercial companies. These collaborations cover multiple crops, including bread wheat, durum wheat, canola, legumes, mustard, flax, cannabis and others.

Ag-West Bio: Ag-West Bio helps move research to market and grow agri-food business in the province. We help startup businesses by providing business advice, we connect entrepreneurs to mentors, and we provide funding. Our Vision: Saskatchewan is a world leader in bringing agricultural bioscience innovation to commercialization. Our Mission: Accelerating innovation and enabling companies to commercialize research in agricultural and food biosciences.

How do your goals help push Canadian agriculture forward?

Metabolix Oilseeds:The work we are doing to innovate around performance in oilseed crops is aligned with global trends around global food security and climate change. We believe Camelina has significant potential as a winter cover crop which could have the effect of improving soil health while offering growers the ability to generate revenue on otherwise fallow land. Initially, we are focused on producing Camelina as a low-carbon feedstock oil for the renewable diesel market which is expanding in Canada and the U.S.

In addition to producing oil and protein meal, we are also developing varieties of Camelina that could produce omega-3 (EPA+DHA) oil for nutrition uses as a sustainable alternative to fish oil as well as Camelina engineered for producing PHA, a bio-based and biodegradable polymer.

VeriGrain: Canadian and agriculture globally need to optimize and maximize the utilization of the grain that is grown. VeriGrain helps do this! It works like this: the grower creates a sample record using the VeriGrain app, starting with scanning the barcode on the sample container. The app determines the optimal sampling for manually sampling or using the auto-sampler. The Sample AssistTM feature in the VeriGrain app alerts the grower by beeping and vibrating their phone and communicates via Bluetooth with the VeriGrain Smart ScoopTM to flash a bright LED. VeriGrain’s auto-sampler has a Sample Extractor Module which easily mounts to the discharge end of grain equipment, like an auger or conveyor. This acquires samples at a computer-controlled interval, which are transferred pneumatically to the Sample Management Module.

NRGene: Our overarching goal is to generate additional value for our partners by using our cutting-edge AI genomics technology and leveraging it to accelerate breeding processes to create a more sustainable future for Canada and worldwide. NRGene’s new office and genotyping lab offer end-to-end solutions provided by a team of local genomics experts and breeders to allow ongoing support to our partners in Canada. Our team, which continues to grow, is assessing the local needs and challenges for developing and optimizing solutions tailored to the Canadian ecosystem.

NRGene has been involved in major projects to advance the Canadian Agri-tech space, including a project in collaboration with the University of Saskatchewan, leveraging NRGene’s technology led to the successful assembly of the full 16Gbp hexaploid wheat genome in just 10 days, the International Canola Pan-genome consortium to advance the rapeseed agricultural industry in Canada and worldwide, and a project with Protein Industries Canada to develop pea and hemp varieties for ingredient processing and focus on increasing protein content and improving the starch content and texture of ingredients derived from new varieties, potentially increasing their use in plant-based foods and beverages across Canada and internationally. Lastly, NRGene is extensively involved in the Canadian cannabis space and our all-inclusive genomic package was awarded to a Canadian company, Haplotech Inc. (now FBN), to develop and accelerate the breeding process of elite hemp cultivars.

Ag-West Bio: Ag-West bio acts as a catalyst for initiatives. Two recent Ag-West Bio initiatives include the Protein Industries Canada supercluster (PIC) and the Global Agri-Food Advancement Partnership (GAAP). We are currently involved in the development of the Saskatoon Food Cluster, with the goal of supporting the creation of more food and ingredient companies in the province, adding value to Canadian commodities.

What are the benefits of being part of a strong Ag Tech cluster in Saskatchewan and Innovation Place?

Metabolix Oilseeds: The strong reputation of Saskatchewan's agriculture-food technology cluster was the reason we established MOI in Saskatoon over 10 years ago. It has proven to be an excellent area to build our business, as we have accessed excellent facilities and greenhouse space, as well as attracted top talent, and engaged partners and accessed services as we develop Camelina as a commercial crop.

VeriGrain: Connectivity, exposure, recognition, science and technology support, and access to capital are all crucial factors in building a global company.

NRGene: NRGene strongly believes in the Canadian Ag Tech and Agri-Food sector, and we are proud to be part of it. With our office so close to our local partners, it will allow us to grow together with this community and deepen our relationship with our Canadian partners, learn local needs and challenge and develop tailored solutions optimized to the Canadian ecosystem.

Ag-West Bio: One of Ag-West Bio’s roles is to help people make the connections they need to grow their businesses. Being located at Innovation Place means we are at the heart of Saskatchewan’s agricultural research cluster. It’s a great place to get people together and grow a community. Business is built on relationships.

What (or how!) are you celebrating Canadian Agriculture Day?

Metabolix Oilseeds: In recognition of Canadian Agriculture Day, we would like to acknowledge all those hard-working members of the Canadian agriculture industry committed to driving innovation at all levels to ensure a robust and evolving agriculture landscape in Canada that is aligned with contributing to global food security and addressing climate change to the benefit of Canadian growers and consumers.

VeriGrain: No specific plans!

Ag-West Bio: We’re promoting the activities of Saskatchewan’s two agriculture awareness amplifiers (and Ag-West Bio members): Farm & Food Care and Agriculture in the Classroom. Also, watch our social media for some interesting Saskatchewan agriculture facts!

More Ag Tech companies at Innovation Place to watch!


Agrimatics is committed to providing the world's best electronics and software products to the agricultural sector and their tablet and smartphone-based approach is changing the industry. Their flagship tablet and smartphone-based products include Libra Cart, a grain cart weighing and data management system, and Libra TMR, a livestock feed ration and data management system.

Northern Quinoa Production Corporation (NorQuin)

NorQuin is the first company to begin growing quinoa on the Prairies (way back in 1992!) and has since expanded to be North America’s largest grower of quinoa. Their revolutionary Ag Tech is supporting the development and commercialization of quinoa and quinoa ingredients and experimenting with new varieties of quinoa to fuel the next generation of consumer and farmers that are easier to grow, tastier to consume and more sustainable.

Read more about NorQuin’s research with quinoa!

Global Agri-Food Advancement Partnership (GAAP)

The GAAP is a unique organization that combines an accelerator and incubator facility with funding, expertise and more to help remove barriers for Agri-Food companies so they can innovate, grow and scale nationally and globally. A collaboration between Innovation Place, Ag-West Bio, Global Institute for Food Security and the Food Centre, the GAAP is ready to help advance Agri-Food companies in Saskatchewan.

Read more about the GAAP and the Agri-Food innovation pipeline!


Algarithm is on a mission to make it easy and enjoyable for everyone to consume plant-based, ocean-friendly Omega-3 ingredients. Their innovative Omega-3 products GMO free, using a natural alga strain first discovered and isolated in the Bay of Fundy Nova Scotia, and chemical extraction free, instead using their patented solvent-free process to extract and harvest Omega-3s.

Genome Prairie

Genome Prairie supports people across Manitoba and Saskatchewan capture and maximize the benefits of advanced research in genomics and related biosciences and has been a huge catalyst for developing the bioeconomy of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. They have helped develop numerous bioscience research projects and are home to their regional program Genome360, helping develop genomic solutions.

Western Grains Research Foundation

The Western Grains Research Foundation is a farmer-funded and farmer-directed non-profit organization that invests in agricultural research benefitting western Canadian producers and has already invested more than $200 million to support diverse crop research projects.

Meet more companies in the Innovation Place community!
- February 22, 2022