Red Deer agriculture entrepreneur Robert Saik (left) with Microsoft founder Bill Gates after Saik gave a presentation on the future of agriculture technology at a 2017 event in Washington. (Photo contributed)

Red Deer agriculture entrepreneur Robert Saik (left) with Microsoft founder Bill Gates after Saik gave a presentation on the future of agriculture technology at a 2017 event in Washington. (Photo contributed)

Red Deer agriculture entrepreneur donates $100,000 to Olds College

Money will be used to support pair of annual $2,500 scholarships

Red Deer agriculture entrepreneur Robert Saik is investing in the future of Olds College students.

The CEO of AGvisor Pro recently donated $100,000 to the college to create an endowment fund for the Robert Saik AgTech Awards, which provides two $2,500 scholarships each year to students from urban areas enrolled in agricultural technology programs.

The scholarships, which will be first handed out in January 2023, build on another Saik-supported scholarship program that helps rural students entering agriculture programs at the University of Alberta.

“I established these scholarships at Olds College because the college offers hands-on, high-tech learning experiences with the Ag Tech programs,” said Saik, whose company connects farmers, ranchers and agri-businesses to a network of industry experts.

“Technology, robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning are a part of the future of agriculture. Olds College is helping students focus on the agricultural needs of tomorrow by placing technology inside the classroom and providing a hands-on learning environment on the Smart Farm.”

“I want this scholarship to encourage bright people to join the agriculture industry and take advantage of the technology available, and those bright people don’t need to come from a farm or have a background in agriculture,” says Saik.

“It’s important that kids living in urban areas understand agriculture is a viable and exciting career; it’s a really good place to be. I feel very strongly about that.”

Olds College’s vice-president of development and strategy Patrick Machacek, said the scholarships will help remove some of the financial roadblocks for students pursuing ag tech careers.

“Agriculture offers a variety of career opportunities, including new skill sets centered around technology, data, robotics and engineering,” said Machacek.

Olds College offers several agriculture and agriculture technology programs through the Werklund School of Agriculture Technology and is home to Canada’s first Smart Farm, which provides a product development and demonstration venue to accelerate agriculture technology and agri-food development.



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