Olds College officials will cut the ribbon on a “cutting-edge learning environment” when the Smart Farms officially opens on Wednesday.
The new Smart Farm is being launched on 110-acres to give students a chance to work with both the ag and tech sectors in optimizing innovation and research.
Students will learn about various data management solutions, grain-bin and soil sensors, digital weather stations, satellite mapping, data analytics, and rural internet connectivity and other innovations.
With technology increasing across all agricultural sectors, Olds College wants to make students familiar with the latest equipment in food production, explained college president Stuart Cullum.
Described as a hands-on venue for the development, integration and testing of new ag technology and practises, the Smart Farm will be the site of a number of demonstrations during Wednesday’s launch.
“It will be a great celebration of an important initiative that will transform Olds College’s farm operations,” Cullum added.
He noted industry representatives, producers and other college partners will also be at the ceremony to speak about how this new facility will help prepare students for farming of the future.
The 110 educational acres incorporate new products, and will be open to students in all college programs.
Cullum said the college has been working with partners from the agriculture and technology sectors to transform an existing standard farm operation into “a next-generation farm” by incorporating the latest digital equipment.
Whether or not all Alberta farmers are using this technology today, he believes they will definitely used it in years to come — and Olds College students will be ready. “It’s all coming, and coming fast.”
The Smart Farm’s innovations are expected to help improve a producers’ knowledge and decision-making ability, and to bump up yields. Cullum believes “smart agriculture” will build upon sustainable farming in this province and create interesting employment opportunities.
It will also help producers work through many of the challenges agriculture operations will be facing.