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USask and Olds College sign agriculture and livestock research MOU

Dairy cows rest at a farm in eastern Ontario on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Wednesday on Day 3 of Agribition, representatives from the University of Saskatchewan and Olds College signed a memorandum of understanding to conduct joint research into automation and increased incorporation of digital data in agriculture.

The two schools have a long relationship.

“Olds College and the University of Saskatchewan have long histories of being catalysts of innovation in the agriculture industry,” Olds College associate VP of applied research Joy Agnew said. “With the MOU in place, we look forward to working with USask to continue to provide technical solutions and training opportunities for the agriculture and agri-food industry.”

Read more: Historic University of Saskatchewan buildings to be sold and moved

Both USask and Olds say they understand that technological solutions are needed to maintain Canada’s place as a global leader in the agriculture sector, and both have impressive assets. USask is home to the Global Institute for Food Security, the Global Institute for Water Security and the Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence.

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Olds College is home to Canada’s first smart farm. The 2,800-acre environment leverages the school’s agriculture operations and applied research program.

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Areas that could see improvements from the MOU include sensors and sensing, data transfer and security, and AI and controls to support the growing technical shift in ag production.

The signing is part of the Pan-Canadian Smart Farm network, an initiative with many institutions coming together to address challenges by collaborating with each other.

“We’re excited about the University of Saskatchewan becoming a part of that network and contributing,” said president of Olds College Stuart Cullum.

Read more: Saskatchewan farmers hoping for wet winter after drought-ravaged summer

The MOU initially covers a five-year period and will be governed by a joint committee of representatives from both institutions.

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