OLDS, Alta. — United Farmers of Alberta is giving Olds College $500,000 to build its agriculture innovation programs.
The farmer-owned co-operative will pay the commitment over the next five years, which will be used to build the UFA innovation laboratory. The lab, located on the campus, is a former college president’s residence. Renovations should be done in time for a December opening.
“It is a nondescript farm house in a way, but inside it is a technology centre, which is what so many farm houses are going to look like in the future,” said college president Stuart Collum.
Students will be encouraged to create and test new ideas in the centre and later present them to a panel for further funding and development support.
In addition to the innovation lab, the donation will help fund the college’s Smart Farm, which uses cutting edge technology to provide practical experience for students and the agriculture industry.
“It is about students bringing new ideas to agriculture,” said Carol Kitchen, chief executive officer of UFA.
“Olds College has an operating farm, so we want to partner on things that can drive real innovation,” she said.
The college is also discussing plants with the province to seek out matching grants to advance the smart farm program.