Lakeland College has officially opened its new Agriculture Technology Centre, saying it will put students and researchers “at the forefront of the high-tech advancements in agriculture.”
And high tech has become a must-have, says college president and CEO Alice Wainwright-Stewart.
“Without technological advancements, traditional agriculture can’t keep up with the demands of today’s world,” Wainwright-Stewart said at the centre’s opening ceremony last month.
The 743-square-metre centre features a technology hub with displays and analytical tools, combined lab and classroom space, and an area for large farm equipment demonstrations and training.
Its two labs are the Agriculture Technology Lab — powered by New Holland and the Lewis Farms Data Lab. The former is a large ‘makerspace’ area (which refers to spaces equipped with tools and/or where individuals can collaborate and share ideas on projects). The latter will be “a central collection hub for all data collected from in-field monitors, sensors, cameras, and precision technologies embedded across the campus farm,” a Lakeland release states.
“This is where livestock, field, crop and agronomic maps and data collected will be layered, interpreted, analyzed and packaged,” it states. “This will make it possible for data to be transformed into useful management information including ag tech industry software programs and applications.”
The opening of the ag tech centre coincides with the start of classes for Lakeland’s new bachelor of agriculture technology program. The two-year, post-credential program is “designed to bridge the gap between emerging technologies and agricultural management and production systems.”
The centre is the latest in a series of capital works at the college’s Vermilion campus in the last five years, including a new livestock research facility, a dairy learning centre, and an animal health clinic.
Enrolment in agricultural sciences has doubled since 2010, the college says.