Innovation Saskatchewan launched its latest innovation challenge looking for solutions to help farmers, ranchers and ag workers monitor their mental health
In partnership with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, Innovation Saskatchewan launched its innovation challenge on March 5. This challenge calls on technology entrepreneurs to develop a solution for farmers, ranchers and agriculture workers to monitor their mental health.
This initiative is the fourth innovation challenge launched by Innovation Saskatchewan and this topic was brought forward after conversations with the Ministry of Agriculture, said Kari Harvey, CEO of Innovation Saskatchewan.
“Mental health is a challenge across the board. We also recognize that it's a big challenge for Saskatchewan producers and ranchers. So, we felt this was a priority area. We wanted to see if, with our entrepreneurs, we could tackle it and develop a solution that might benefit our Saskatchewan producers,” she told Farms.com.
With the challenging years agriculture has faced lately, this initiative is timely.
“There’s a lot you can’t control on a farming operation and you’re usually working in an isolated environment – both can take a toll on the mental health of farmers and ranchers,” David Marit, the province’s ag minister, said in the release.
The challenge is open for submissions. If people are interested in learning more, three information sessions will be held in March.
“We'll hold one in Regina on March 19 and one in Saskatoon on March 17. Then we also do an online event for those who aren't able to make it in-person for one of the sessions,” said Harvey.
Innovation Saskatchewan is open to what kind of submissions people put forth, said Harvey.
“It's really important to tap into the creativity and the ideas of the technology community to find out what those ideas might be,” she said. “We envision that there may be an app or a website program using things like artificial intelligence.”
The submission deadline is April 30 and then a shortlist will be made where individuals will do a presentation and a more in-depth application. At this point in the process, Innovation Saskatchewan will involve stakeholders, such as producers and organizations who are experts on the topic, said Harvey.
People interested in learning more about the challenge or who want to apply can check out Innovation Saskatchewan’s website.
Photo credit: Government of Saskatchewan