Olds College of Agriculture & Technology and SaskTel have signed a memorandum of understanding that will see the two organizations come together to work on solving some of the largest challenges currently facing agriculture technology, including rural connectivity.
Their collaboration will leverage the 800 acres Olds College Saskatchewan Smart Farm (Craik, Saskatchewan) to advance and accelerate ag tech development and innovation for producers, learners, and agri-food companies right across Saskatchewan through applied research, technology demonstration, data utilization, and commercial-scale validation.
“We are delighted to partner with SaskTel, a leader in connectivity, Internet of Things (IoT) and customer service in Saskatchewan,” comments Patrick Machacek, Vice President, Development & Strategy, Olds College. “With the recent expansion of the Olds College Smart Farm into Saskatchewan, we are continuing to expand and build a smart ag ecosystem that is focused on driving innovation for western Canada’s ag sector. Thanks to partnerships with industry leaders, such as SaskTel, Olds College of Agriculture & Technology will provide ag-tech training and research opportunities that align and support the needs of Saskatchewan learners, producers and the agri-food industry.”
“As Saskatchewan’s homegrown communications provider, we are pleased to collaborate with Olds College on this exciting project which will further expand our role in helping to develop, test, and facilitate the wider adoption of innovative new ag technologies that will enable producers to modernize their operations and keep pace with the growing demand for sustainable and trusted food sources,” said Doug Burnett, SaskTel President and CEO.
Olds College of Agriculture & Technology is home to Canada’s first Smart Farm, and in 2022 expanded Smart Farm operations into Saskatchewan thanks to a gift of 800 acres of land west of Craik, SK from Margery Steckler and her late husband, George Steckler.
The Olds College Smart Farm is a cutting-edge learning environment that has grown to include 3,600 acres of farmland, infrastructure, and staff who are experienced in ag tech research and development. The Olds College Smart Farm is essentially a giant lab that provides the agriculture sector a venue for commercial scale applied research, and is attracting investment and engagement from companies ranging from multi-national ag and tech companies to SMEs (small and medium enterprises). The philosophy and principles guiding the development and operation of the Olds College Smart Farm are centred around engaging producers and industry on addressing real-world problems by utilizing and integrating technology and data. The Smart Farm is also focused on teaching students how to integrate, manage and leverage ag technology for the enhancement and sustainability of agri-food production.
Olds College of Agriculture & Technology is known for high-tech, hands-on agriculture education and innovative applied research that lays the foundation for solving real-world problems in farming, food and land. The College offers programming in Agriculture, Horticulture, Land and Environment Management, Animal Science, Food Production, Business, Trades and Apprenticeships. Olds College Centre of Innovation and Smart Farm are accelerating the development and adoption of technologies and practices that result in improved productivity, profitability and sustainability of the agriculture and agri-food industry through industry-driven applied research.
Olds College of Agriculture & Technology has been recognized as one of Canada’s top 50 research colleges by Research Infosourse. As Canada’s smart agriculture college, Olds College of Agriculture & Technology is working to achieve its social purpose of transforming agriculture for a better world.
SaskTel is the leading Information and Communications Technology (ICT) provider in Saskatchewan, with approximately $1.3 billion in annual revenue and over 1.4 million customer connections including more than 647,000 wireless accesses, 273,000 wireline network accesses, 293,000 internet and data accesses, 110,000 maxTV service subscribers, and 78,000 security monitoring customers.