Government of Canada supports innovation in Alberta’s agriculture sector

News release

August 13, 2019 – Olds, Alberta – Western Economic Diversification Canada

Bolstering innovation in Western Canada’s agriculture sector promotes enhanced production and global competitiveness.

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), announced over $1.9 million in Regional Innovation Ecosystems (RIE) funding towards Olds College to bolster Alberta’s agriculture industry.

An investment of $1,931,843 will support Phase Two of the Olds College Smart Farm (OCSF), a living lab for the development, testing, validation, and scale-up of agricultural technologies. Federal funding will help OCSF buy and install agricultural equipment and advanced sensor technologies, as well as recruit agricultural and technical specialists to direct Smart Farm activities and use of data. The equipment and technologies will generate information and data to benefit farm operations, support research, and provide high tech, hands-on learning for faculty and students. The investment in the Olds College Smart Farm is anticipated to create 20 jobs, generate $2.5 million in business research and development (BERD), and assist agriculture companies to achieve $90 million in revenue growth and $27 million in export sales growth.

Olds College is also receiving $10,000 to host the 2019 AgSmart event, which brings together technology providers with farmers, students, and academics to learn more about how technology and data applications increase productivity and profits, while reducing environmental impact. AgSmart takes place from August 13-14.

The RIE program stream builds on the Innovation and Skills Plan, our path forward to help make Canada a world-leading centre for innovation that creates well-paying jobs and grows the middle class.


“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.”

- The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

“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.”

- The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister Natural Resources

“The agriculture industry plays a critical role in the success of our country. Now more than ever, agriculture is experiencing a data revolution. As a post-secondary institution, Olds College has an important role to play to create an environment where producers, industry partners, faculty and students can look at the challenges facing the agriculture industry and together explore solutions that will evolve our agriculture practices. Built upon our existing agriculture operation, the Olds College Smart Farm is a place to develop, validate and demonstrate agriculture technology and practices. On behalf of Olds College, I would like to thank the Government of Canada for investing in the future of agriculture.”

- Stuart Cullum, President, Olds College

Quick facts

  • Phase One of the Olds College Smart Farm launched in 2018, which 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 of the OCSF attracted over $1 million in cash contributions from 14 industry partners with multiple projects being developed in its first four months.

  • AgSmart, which is hosted at Olds College, will feature education workshops, hands on equipment displays, in-field demonstrations, and a trade show profiling cutting-edge commercialized products that are transforming the agriculture industry in Alberta and world-wide.

Associated links


Donna Kinley
Regional Communications Manager
Western Economic Diversification Canada

Blayne Meek
Director, Corporate Communications & Marketing
Olds College

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