The funding will help OCSF to buy new agriculture equipment that could generate information and data to benefit farm operations

Govt of Canada

Image: Canadian Government to offer funding for Alberta’s OCSF. Photo: Courtesy of Peggy Choucair/Pixabay.

Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister Navdeep Bains responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) has announced more than C$1.9m (£1.2m) funding to support innovation in Alberta’s agriculture sector.

The funding has been provided for Olds College to bolster Alberta’s agriculture industry. The investment of $1,931,843 (£1.2m) will support Phase Two of the Olds College Smart Farm (OCSF), a living lab to develop, test, validate and scale-up of agricultural technologies.

The federal funding will support OCSF to buy and install agricultural equipment and advanced sensor technologies, along with recruiting agricultural and technical specialists to direct Smart Farm activities and use of data.

The equipment and technologies are expected to generate information and data to benefit farm operations, support research and offer high tech, hands-on learning for faculty and students.

The investment in the Olds College Smart Farm could also create 20 jobs while generating C$2.5m (£1.56m) in business research and development (BERD) and assist agriculture companies in achieving C$90m (£56.1m) in revenue growth and C$27m (£16.8m) in export sales growth.

The college will receive C$10,000 to host the 2019 AgSmart event, which will bring together technology providers with farmers, students and academics to learn more on how technology and data applications can increase productivity and profits, while reducing impact on the environment. AgSmart will take place between 13 and 14 August.

Navdeep Bains said: “The Government of Canada recognizes agriculture as a source of well-paying jobs and ground-breaking research.

“Through these investments in Olds College, agriculture producers across Western Canada will be better equipped to address increasing consumer demands by harnessing new technologies and innovations.”

OCSF Phase 1 was created last year on 110 acres of farm land

Launched last year, the Phase One of the Olds College Smart Farm created 110 acres of farm land to be used by industry, students and researchers to develop new ‘smart connected’ technologies for crop farming.

The first phase attracted more than C$1m (£620,000) in cash contributions from 14 industry partners with multiple projects being developed in the first four months.

Minister Natural Resources Amarjeet Sohi said: “The government is investing in the future of farming and the adoption of new technologies and processes in order to stay at the forefront of technological change.

“By investing in Canadian agricultural innovation, we are helping the sector gain the competitive edge it needs to continue to thrive at home and in global markets.”

AgSmart, hosted at Olds College will feature education workshops, hands on equipment displays, in-field demonstrations along with a trade show profiling latest commercialized products that are claimed to transform agriculture industry in Alberta and world-wide.