The first potato crop has been planted at McCain Foods Farm of the Future in Florenceville, N.B., McCain says in a news release on June 8.
The Farm of the Future is a full-size, 500-plus-acre commercial-scale operational farm, the release notes. McCain is collaborating with academics, technology innovators, public officials and McCain growers to experiment different agricultural methods and technologies in order to find more sustainable ways to grow potatoes.
The New Brunswick Farm is serving as a testing ground for the company’s regenerative agriculture push. McCain recently announced that by 2030 all of its potato products will come from spuds grown by regenerative ag practices. This is McCain’s first Farm of the Future, two more will be built in different growing regions by 2025.
“We know the path to better crop yields and more sustainable farming will depend on applying new approaches to farming and leveraging rapidly developing technology,” Jess Newman, senior director of agriculture and sustainability at McCain, says in the release. “Our Farms of the Future will be where we learn and discover how these advancements play out in different climates, continents and hemispheres in a way that is economically viable and scalable for our farmers.”
The first year at the New Brunswick farm will see McCain work on several projects, the release says. These projects include incorporating precision agriculture technologies such as remote sensing, experimenting with seeding practices and implementing controlled traffic, a ground-breaking shift in approach which greatly limits the time a tractor and other heavy machinery spends on a field.
Next year the farm will expand into experiments on drip and pivot irrigation. Future plans include energy projects and incorporating more digital technologies into potato growing, the release notes.
All of the potatoes grown on the McCain Farm of the Future will be made into french fries and other frozen potato products at McCain’s Florenceville processing facility, the release says.