Assiniboine Community College snags digital ag donation

Farm Credit Canada says need for digital support for farms is growing

Assiniboine Community College has received a $15,000 donation from Farm Credit Canada (FCC) to enhance its digital agriculture offerings.

“As the agriculture industry evolves toward an increased focus on technology and precision agriculture, so comes an increased demand for digital agriculture knowledge and training,” Chris Budiwski, ACC’s chair of agriculture and environment said in a news release.

The new technology infrastructure will be used primarily by students in the college’s Communications Engineering Technology (CET) program. Graduates of the CET program are increasingly benefiting from hands-on technical training and exposure to agriculture and agricultural systems during their time at college.

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“FCC is very interested in supporting digital ag, because we feel it benefits Canadian producers and agriculture as a whole,” said Diana Laturnus, manager, special projects at FCC in the same media release.

“I think there’s a lot of technologies out there and it’s making sense of how they operate and their return on investment and I think it’s important for producers to get that kind of information.”

Digital agriculture systems provide more reliable and faster data transmission, which is crucial to providing precise digital information and solutions on agriculture inputs and variables. Much of this digital agriculture in action relies on fibre optic technology.

“With the move of many industries, including agriculture, to focusing more and more on data, the need for faster and more robust data transmission is reliant on systems like fibre optics,” said Budiwski.

Fibre optics provide the infrastructure connecting wireless communication systems being used in the fields for voice, data and sensor technology and can provide networks with increased broadband connectivity in rural areas and farm sites.

This donation from FCC brings digital agriculture training to a new and necessary hands-on level, where theory learning had previously been the only route.

“With a combination of conceptual and applied learning, I think you set students up for success as we move forward and technologies continue to evolve and change,” said Wilco Van Meijl, Brandon district director with FCC in the release.

“This is what our producers, customers and the industry are going to have to have a grasp on as we move forward in order to stay competitive.”

“CET is essentially a program based on wireless communication and this transfers to agriculture applications very well,” said Budiwski. “As the industry moves toward more digital ag, precision ag, machine learning and artificial intelligence, the need for designers and technicians of this digital infrastructure comes with this technological shift.”

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