$1.2M in land donated to Olds College Smart Farm


A gift of 316 acres of agricultural land located near Carstairs, Alta. was donated to Olds College. Valued at $1.2 million, the donation was made on behalf of the estate of Willem Pistra.

“Both my parents would be thrilled to know that the farmland will be contributing to research that will improve farming practices in Alberta and around the world,” says their daughter, Jackie Pitstra. “I believe my Dad felt that the college would appreciate the land, and that by donating to the school he would be contributing towards a legacy of education for future generations.”

Both Willem and Marrigje (Mar) immigrated to Canada from Holland as young adults and lived in Calgary, Alta. up until the 1980’s when they purchased farmland west of Carstairs. As conditions for furthering ones education were not the best during the Second World War, and the occupation of Holland, the pair made sure education was of high importance for the upbringing of their three kids.

The land donation, located in Mountain View County, will be used to further expand the college’s Smart Farm.

Willem and Marrigje (Mar) Pistra. (Olds College/Twitter)

“The Smart Farm creates a cutting edge learning environment for our students and lifelong learners by providing a hands-on venue for industry to develop, integrate and test new agriculture technology that will evolve our current ag practices,” says Patrick Machacek, vice president, develop and strategy, Olds College. “Through the Pitstra’s generous gift, they are transforming agriculture education and research at Olds College, by allowing us to expand our Smart Farm.”

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