"Instead of having engineers and plant scientists on site, we have ways that we can basically integrate our technology into the farmer's location, and we can watch everything going on in real-time. We have our own in-house team that can fix and resolve any issues and provide support as needed," says Ryan Wright, CEO of NuLeaf Farms.
NuLeaf Farms, based out of Calgary, has carved out a large slice of the vertical farming pie. Their catalog holds over 168 crops that can be grown, from edible and medicinal herbs to conventional leafy greens and everything in between, like lavender and strawberries.
Aside from growing perishable crops, NuLeaf is harnessing this technology to help farmers reduce feed costs. The company has been focused primarily on hydroponic barley systems that allow farmers to grow large amounts of barley in a confined space year-round, usually by converting abandoned assets like hog barns.
"This comes with a couple of benefits. One, it reduces the methane from cattle. Two, it increases feed-to-gain ratios for cattle. And third, better ratios for nutrient uptake of other food you feed to cows," says Wright.
Wright says farmers are beginning to embrace the technology, seeing the value in their operations and bottom lines by reducing costs and improving sustainability. NuLeaf also allows hydroponic converts to get the services and support they need remotely once the tech is installed.
Wright believes this technology will help youth engage in agriculture and develop the next generation of farmers. Not only is indoor farming economically sound, Wright says it also lowers the cost barriers that have prevented young farmers from entering the industry.
Source: Rural Roots Canada