SoilOptix®, based in the tiny town of Tavistock, Ontario, has gone global. Supported by its participation in the Government of Canada- supported i.d.e.a. Fund, the company is currently in six of seven continents across the globe and in countries as diverse as Chile, Bulgaria, Morocco and India. And the company has no plans of slowing down any time soon. Zach Harmer who is the North America Sales and Global Support Manager explains: “Our goal is to become a leader in soil mapping technologies.”

What exactly do these technologies do? SoilOptix® uses a physical sensor to take high- definition pictures of soil variability across a field. According to Harmer, “It’s not looking at each individual field as a one blanket approach, but a multifaceted approach to capture variability throughout.” Those images are combined with data from soil samples to produce soil property maps that allow farmers to understand the diversity of needs across a field in order to optimize inputs like fertilizer, water and seeds. This is not only key for their bottom line but also for the long-term environmental sustainability of agriculture. SoilOptix®’s customers are not farmers directly but the groups who support farmers to make smart decisions, such as independent crop consultants, agricultural co- ops and research institutions.

With the company’s exponential growth has come the need for greater technological capacity to service all of the field data that SoilOptix® is processing on a daily basis, as well as stronger organizational systems to provide more advanced service to customers. SoilOptix® leveraged the resources provided by the i.d.e.a. Fund through TechAlliance to upgrade its servers and support developments in the areas of AI, marketing, sales and operational efficiencies. The i.d.e.a. Fund is supported by the Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), to provide high-potential businesses with seed funding and business advisory supports.

The i.d.e.a. Fund was crucial in assisting SoilOptix® in developing a more scalable data processing environment so we can really take this technology across the world with the quality that clients have come to expect.

Zach Harmer, North America Sales and Global Support Manager, SoilOptix

SoilOptix® also received expert mentorship through TechAlliance. Lori Davey, Operations Manager at SoilOptix, says that the mentor assigned to the project really listened to where the company was struggling, suggested resources and training, and offered ideas that hadn’t been considered during the project’s growth stages. “As a growing company, you have positions to fill,” she says. “There are holes that need to be filled because as you’re growing and especially as you’re growing globally, you’re bringing on new countries with different cultures and rules and everything. There’s just so much there.”

Authored by: Meredith Davis, Good Roots Consulting