Local business helps farmers grow more nutritious produce by providing tools that aid in improving soil health
Felix Weber’s experience growing up on a farm encouraged him to start one of his own in the mid-1980s. He is a strong believer in being a good steward of the land, attributing a long-term environmental sustainability outlook to the better returns he saw over time. Felix wanted to help farmers see the same success as he did, so he began consulting. Inspired by the healthy crops and financial return provided through precision farming, Felix started Ag Business & Crop Inc. Through this business, Felix provides user-friendly, innovative product solutions, tools, and equipment that allow farmers to learn precise data about their soil health and how to improve it.
To learn more about how to grow and develop his business, Felix participated in Innovation Guelph’s Fast Lane - Tune Up program where he received mentorship and established a clearer sense of direction for Ag Business & Crop Inc. The support he received through this program encouraged him to apply to Seeding Our Food Future (SOFF). With a clear focus for his business combined with funding and support from SOFF, Felix is working on creating educational videos to train clients on how to use Ag Business & Crop Inc. equipment and tools. Due to COVID-19, he has not been able to do in-person demonstrations but is able to use videos to explain the importance of identifying which nutrients are available in the soil and how to use the appropriate equipment to grow healthier crops. Soil samplers and drones allow growers to effectively learn what specific parcels of the farm need to be supplemented with nutrients to improve the quality and storage life of produce. As the health of crops depend on the nutrients transferred to them by the soil, having growers utilize these types of precision tools will improve the accessibility of nutritious produce.
For Felix, circularity means supporting the local economy. Not only does growing local products provide a place of employment for those who live and work within that region, but as Felix explains, “Nature is stronger than we are” – thus, locally produced food will provide better antibodies against threats to one’s health. For example, eating local honey may lessen symptoms of seasonal allergies. Encouraging growth of local crops also requires a long-term sustainability outlook. As the local food movement grows, Ag Business & Crop aims to help farmers increase access to nutritious foods by giving them the tools and education to increase the health of their soil – for the crops of this year and 10+ years from now. Felix hopes that smaller farms use this information to collaborate by sharing equipment and knowledge. With more farms growing healthier produce that have longer shelf-life, food waste can be reduced, and these farms will see better financial returns. By sharing precision farming data and technology solutions, Ag Business & Crop is helping Guelph-Wellington build a sustainable circular food economy.