Olds (Rural Roots Canada) – Olds College’s Smart Farm is at the center of a new partnership between the post-secondary institution and TELUS Agriculture.

The $1-million partnership will allow TELUS to use the Smart Farm as a living lab to conduct applied research and test the real-world application of new technology in a commercial-scale agriculture setting.

Olds College President Stuart Cullum says this is a mutually beneficial relationship.

“We can help TELUS Agriculture test, develop, and explore new technology,” Cullum said.

“They provide amazing projects for us to work on and a technology layer or foundation that allows us to ensure we are providing that farm of the future for applied research with industry and, of course, a cutting edge learning environment for our students.”

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Cullum says rural connectivity is a big issue right now, and that is why he is excited that TELUS will be using the Smart Farm to help work on that problem.

“Technology only works when it connects, right? and when it integrates.”

As a former producer, Cullum can attest to some of that and some of the frustrations that farmers have when things don’t connect.

“When you can’t flow data, it really impairs the value, and so I know that TELUS Agriculture is paying attention to that and are obviously a big part of that solution.”

He says they want the Smart Farm and Olds College to be an example of what good connectivity can create and provide for integrating technology and data that includes things like 5G.

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Cullum says this will attract more students, academics, and more partners to the post-secondary institution.

“And what that does is provide a tremendously attractive environment for our students so we can really attract great students that will be those ag leaders of the future.

He adds that it also attracts companies interested in working on opportunities and technology for their own portfolios.

“Then they’re part of a collaborative environment of companies and researchers to work on some of the most important problems and opportunities in agriculture.”