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Olds College gets $5 million to study agriculture technologies

Money going towards college’s Smart Agriculture Applied Research Program
The DOT power platform, which connects to tools such as a sprayer and seeder to perform tasks on the farm, will be at Olds College this summer. Photo Credit: Sergei Belski

Olds College will get $5.1 million in federal government and industry funding to find ways to improve the latest agricultural technologies.

“Canada’s agriculture industry plays a critical role in the economic success of our country,” says Olds College president Stuart Cullum.

“Companies are looking for places to develop, validate and demonstrate their technologies.”

The Olds College Smart Farm serves as a place where problems in new technologies can be solved and new ways to use technologies can be explored.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada contributed $2 million, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation has invested $945,867 for new research program infrastructure.

Eight industry partners are also on board, committing cash and in-kind contributions worth nearly $2.2 million.

The money is going toward the college’s Smart Agriculture Applied Research Program, which is designed to provide producers with independent, unbiased information on the value and usefulness of various agricultural technologies, processes and practices.

Technology innovators, agricultural producers, agronomists and other agriculture industry players are all expected to benefit from the college’s research.

“Our goal is to provide beta testing research that will support small to medium enterprises and help technology developers commercialize products that producers will use and gain value from,” says Joy Agnew, associate vice-president of applied research at the college.

Small- to medium-size agriculture technology enterprises can draw on the college’s experts, their research and a data collection system geared to helping companies and producers get their products to market.

“Going beyond simple validation and demonstration projects, research staff will help companies understand the gaps in their technology and how to optimize to best meet the needs of their target users,” says the college.

The first project under the research program is already underway.

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