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Olds College launches new Precision Agriculture and Techgronomy diploma


May 8, 2019
By Top Crop Manager

Olds College will offer new diplomas in Precision Agriculture – Techgronomy starting in September 2020, with applications opening on Oct. 1, 2019.

Olds College, based in Olds, Alta., released the new programs last month to offer more focused, hands-on learning, on agronomy and technology. The college will offer an Agriculture Technology Post Diploma Certificate and the new Precision Agriculture – Techgronomy diploma.

The program was developed working with industry partners and producers over the last two years. Through this process, Olds College identified a skills gap exists within the agriculture industry when it comes to supporting producers adopting new technology. The new program is a direct response to the skills gap identified.

The Precision Agriculture – Techgronomy Diploma program page states that graduates from the program will be prepared for careers that “require a deep understanding of the connectedness between agronomy, agriculture machinery/purpose built network management and data sciences.”

“One of the greatest hurdles in precision agriculture is the support required to move forward, it is not always about adopting a whole new farming system, many times it is about using tools such as technology in a different way to find information from different sources to enhance decision making on the farm,” said James Benkie, dean of program development for agriculture technology, in a media release.

Benkie explained that students within the program will engage in hands-on training, focusing on integrating precision technology, purpose built networks, and agronomy while enhancing decision support systems through actionable and effective on-farm decision making.

“This type of program is sorely needed in the precision ag industry. Educating students on the growing number of sensors, data platforms and application systems, combined with hands on learning field work and troubleshooting, will give graduates a leg up when seeking employment in the industry,” added Colin Cameron, local producer and precision agronomist and technology advisor with Point Forward Solutions.

A program like this can be an answer to the glut of data being supplied by various precision ag tools and the question of how to make it meaningful to producers.

With the launch of the Olds College Smart Farm in June 2018, and the Smart Ag Innovation Centre, the College is creating a cutting edge applied research environment for students to learn about agriculture technology.