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Olds College AgSmart expo showcases latest technology

Two-day expo included dozens of educational sessions and demonstrations
Olds College’s AgSmart educational expo featured demonstrations of the latest in agricultural technology. (Photo from Olds College Facebook)

Olds College’s educational expo AgSmart wrapped up on Wednesday.

The two-day event was expected to attract about 2,000 people and 110 exhibitors and feature dozens of educational sessions and demonstrations of some of the latest cutting-edge agricultural technology.

Five tents were set up for educational sessions covering everything from the use of drones in raising livestock, checking for hail damage or for crop spraying to virtual cattle fencing and how to use technology and data collection to improve farm returns.

Visitors could also see demonstrations of the latest in drones, autonomous tractors and spraying and mapping technologies. Among the other topics discussed were the use of 3-D and infrared cameras and ultrasound technology in beef production and the use of satellite imagery on farms.

For Olds College, the event also gave it an opportunity to showcase its Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production, which offers resources and services required to move the livestock industry’s technological needs forward, and its 3,600-acre Smart Farm, which is aimed at accelerating the development and adoption of technologies and practices that result in improved productivity, profitability and sustainability of the agriculture and agri-food industry.

Also in agricultural technology news, SVG Ventures THRIVE, in partnership with Alberta Innovates, and PrairiesCan announced on Wednesday the start of THRIVE Academy and THRIVE Venture Studio, which will support entrepreneurs, researchers, innovators, early-stage startups and spin-outs in the agri-food technology sector.

THRIVE Academy offers hands-on training and access to testing sites such as the Olds College Smart Farm and other applied research opportunities. The program kicks off this September with the first cohort of 15 participants. The program will alternate between sites across Alberta over the course of the three-year funding.

SVG Ventures is also launching THRIVE Venture Studio. This unique venture builder model will focus on forming new companies in response to some of the most pressing issues across the agri-food value chain.

Alberta Innovates is providing $3 million, with another $700,000 in federal funding awarded to Olds College through PrairiesCan to support THRIVE Academy in western Canada.

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