By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
Following the launch of the Pan-Canadian Smart Farm Network (PCSFN) in 2021, Lethbridge College is the latest institution to join the network which is a collaborative network working together to enhance efficiencies, sustainability, and tech solutions in the agriculture industry across Canada.
The network, led by Olds College, currently has representation for three provinces, but is working toward securing members from every geographic area in the country. Members also include University of Saskatchewan, Lakeland College, Discovery Farm Langham, Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence, Manitoba Beef & Forage Initiatives Inc., and Enterprise Machine Intelligence & Learning Initiative.
Dr. Joy Agnew, the-Vice President of Research at Olds College, welcomed Lethbridge College into the PCSFN last week. In a June 7 press release, Agnew praised Lethbridge College for its, “expertise in irrigated crop production, grain storage management, and horticulture production, among other things.”
According to Olds College, the collaborative nature of the PCSFN will accelerate implementation and innovation in ag technologies which will ultimately aid producers in sustainability, productivity, and risk management.
“Linking smart farms across the country multiplies the learnings and increases the value of data generated to connect farmers with industry and research partners to find practical solutions to ag challenges.”
In joining the PCSFN, Lethbridge College’s Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CARIE) has brought southern Alberta into the fold. CARIE’s focus on economic growth, social development, and sustainable practices will help inform other locales, and benefit from the data sharing and discovery across the network.
“Working together with members across Canada in the Pan-Canadian Smart Farm Network allows us to share our knowledge and data, build our expertise, and work together to solve challenges across varying soil and climate regions,” said Dr. Kenny Corscadden, Vice President Research and Partnerships at Lethbridge College.
And as the southern Alberta region continues to attract and grow Canada’s Premier Food Corridor, Corscadden added, “CARIE is focused on bringing together community and industry organizations, researchers and students to collaborate on projects that use new or existing knowledge to solve real-world challenges with immediate practical applications.”
Through CARIE, Lethbridge College can support on-site farm activities thanks to a 385-acre irrigated farm located east of Lethbridge in Lethbridge County. With upwards of 7,000 square feet of lab spaces, plus an additional 20,000 square feet of ag facilities, CARIE comes to the table with plenty to offer other PCSFN members including expertise courtesy of the Centre’s internationally-recognized Aquaculture Centre of Excellence and Centre for Sustainable Food Production.
Corscadden said Lethbridge College is, “so happy to join the Pan-Canadian Smart Farm Network, and be able to exchange expertise on best management practices and innovative technologies in agriculture across the network.”
The $2.9 million PCSFN initiative is funded in part by CAAIN, the Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network, which connects stakeholders in agri-food and agriculture technology.