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Insect farm opening in Saskatoon this month

Have you heard the latest buzz out of Saskatoon?

An agricultural technology firm will be opening its North American Insect Centre in the Saskatchewan city this month, with a focus on creating livestock feed out of flies.

NRGene Canada said that its new facility will be open on July 30 and will be developed in collaboration with Swiss technology group Bühler to conduct research and development of soldier fly strains, notably the black soldier flies, native to South America.

The company’s goal is to promote insect protein as a sustainable source for livestock feed.

The insects feed on decaying organic matter, making them a prominent choice for reducing composting and manure, and NRGene plans to use such agricultural byproducts to feed them.

NRGene uses data analysis and artificial intelligence to develop better genetics, creating flies with larger larvae and reduced hatch time.

Minister of Trade and Export Development Jeremy Harrison said the facility sent a good signal about the province’s business climate.

“This announcement is good news for Saskatchewan and it is a positive sign that the province’s investment climate remains strong, despite the current challenges due to the global COVID-19 pandemic,” said Harrison in a press release.

“NRGene will be a great fit for Saskatchewan’s agricultural sciences cluster, bringing good jobs and capacity that will enhance our innovative AgTech, and increasing productivity in the agri-food sector.”

Climate-controlled larvae growth chambers simulate industrial conditions while the company is still in preliminary trials, it says that the results have been promising.

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