Olds College has been given a $16-million donation it will use to create an institute specializing in ‘smart agriculture.’
The Werklund Agriculture Institute will use big data, technology, and enhanced Internet connectivity to increase the quality and quantity of agricultural production. The funding is a gift from David Werklund, an entrepreneur best known for his success in oilfield services, and his partner, Susan Norman. It is the largest-ever personal donation to an Alberta college or technical institution. The donation consists of $2 million in cash, matching funding for other donations, and a $10-million estate gift.
The institute will provide a hub for companies, entrepreneurs, investors and students to demonstrate, develop, and scale up smart agriculture technologies, products and services. It will also include a mentorship program; a ‘gate to plate’ agriculture and food learning enterprise (where students engage in business decision-making and management); and offer advice on smart agriculture technology.