Preliminary Findings of a Provincial Survey on the Adoption of Automation & Robotics Technologies in Ontario’s Agriculture Sector
Photo by J. Lemay
With this ‘working paper’ we present the preliminary results of a province-wide survey on the adoption of automation, robotics, and precision agriculture by the Ontario agriculture sector. The survey is part of a larger study funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to investigate the barriers and drivers in the pursuit of globally competitive production systems in Ontario’s agrifood sector. In addition to the survey, in-depth interviews, site visits and focus groups are planned, which will allow the research team to generate policy recommendations and solutions for accelerating technology transfer and adoption in Ontario’s agriculture sector. The purpose of this working paper is to provide a descriptive analysis of the survey results and to highlight interesting patterns, trends and relationships that will be further unpacked at a later date, through deeper analysis of the survey data alongside data gleaned from the subsequent interviews, site visits, and focus groups. The report is organized as follows:
First, we make the case for the importance of innovation to the competitiveness and sustainability of Ontario’s agriculture sector, provide historic context for Ontario’s agrifood clusters and introduce the concept of regional innovation systems. Second, we describe the survey design and data curation. Third, we present the results of the survey, highlighting interesting patterns, trends and relationships that appear to shape technology adoption and which will be more deeply explored through the subsequent phases of the project. Finally, we conclude with questions that will inform and guide the next phases of the project and offer insights on what we see as potential policy implications for government and other stakeholders based on these preliminary findings.