More demonstration projects needed for carbon-building practices

Karn Manhas, CEO of Terramera, wants to know why Canada is lagging so far behind the U.S. when it comes to investing in carbon capture demonstration and knowledge transfer within the farming and agriculture sector.

Terramera is an agriculture tech company based at Vancouver, focused on artificial intelligence, computer modelling, and diagnostic devices.

Manhas spoke at the Canadian Federation of Agriculture’s annual general meeting March 2, at Ottawa, Ont. His company is working on tools, such as soil testing devices, to help companies and farmers make better, more informed decisions, especially as it relates to carbon emission reductions and sequestration.

He says being able to accurately measure the outcomes of a change in farming practice, for example, supports better decision making. Those outcomes could be related to soil health or carbon, but they could also include profit or nutritional outcomes, too.

Much of the policy and political focus on soil health and soil carbon really hinges on our ability to accurately, quickly, and cost-effectively measure soil carbon, Manhas says, and we’re not really there yet. Current soil testing practices are time consuming and have a relatively long wait for results. Terramera is looking to change that through its tools and technology.

But Manhas adds that there’s also the question of adoption of practices and knowledge transfer that seems to be less of a focus over all for Canada. The U.S., he points out, is spending $1 billion on on-farm climate solutions, and a big part of that is demonstration and sharing information. The question of what Canada is doing on that front was Manhas’s question to the federal agriculture minister at the AGM, as he feels it’s that sharing of knowledge and showing what it already possible that will be so key to farmers adopting changes on-farm.

To that end, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Marie-Claude Bibeau referenced the Living Labs initiative found in several provinces and that the projects were in the second phase of funding.

To hear the entire discussion with Karn Manhas, of Terramera, and for more on what the company does, click below: