The focus will be on “smart” when Olds College launches its new technological farm programs this spring.
Since tech innovation has been increased in all agricultural sectors, Olds College is developing educational programs to make students as proficient with “cutting-edge” equipment as with agriculture and food production, said college president Stuart Cullum.
“Our industry is highly competitive, globally, in optimizing technology and science,” Cullum explained in a release — so Olds College will develop hundreds of student spaces in new tech-based programs in the years ahead.
These are part of an Alberta government push to create 3,000 new spaces for technology programs in the post-secondary system.
Olds College Werklund Agriculture Institute gives students a chance to be mentored by industry leaders, including researchers, producers, tech experts, investors and business entrepreneurs.
Now a new Smart Farm is being launched on 110-acres this spring to give students new chances to work with both the ag and tech sectors in optimizing innovation and research.
The educational farm will incorporate “commercially available smart connected products” and data management solutions with ag operations. These include grain-bin sensors, soil monitors, digital weather stations, satellite mapping, data analytics, and “rural internet connectivity,” said program manager Jason Bradley.
These innovations improve a producers’ knowledge and decision-making, and help bump up yields, added Bradley, who noted the tech education will be implemented across all Olds College lands and programs in years to come.
The goal is to create cutting-edge learning and applied research environments for all students and industry partners. Agriculture is already a key industry for Alberta’s economic diversification, said Cullum, who believes “smart agriculture” will build upon a solid history of economic and environmentally sustainable farming in this province.
He said the government’s investment in technology is spurring “new and exciting learning experiences” and career opportunities in Alberta’s agriculture sector.
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