Post-secondary competition to address challenges facing Canadian agriculture

A new competition is aimed at solving some of the problems those in agriculture face on a daily basis. Students from three different post-secondary institutions will be coming together this week for an event being dubbed McDalBridge, for one-of-a-kind training, along with a competition to improve the agriculture industry.

“This cross-institutional collaboration is a tremendous opportunity for students,” says Kenny Corscadden, associate vice-president of research at Lethbridge College. “It’s also a chance for our three institutions to work alongside each other, share ideas and position ourselves as innovators and leaders in Canada’s agricultural sector. I look forward to all of the ideas that are generated by this partnership.

A set of five students will come from McGill University, Dalhousie University and Lethbridge College. According to a news release, the event builds on Lethbridge College’s successful Agriculture Entrepreneur in Training (AgENT) extra-curricular program that allowed students to work with industry mentors to produce solutions to agriculture industry challenges.

“Alberta, Nova Scotia and Ontario give us a great agricultural cross-section,” says Megan Shapka, Lethbridge College manager of innovation and entrepreneurship. “Each region has different crops, different industries and different agricultural methods. By combining their unique viewpoints, we hope the students are able to reach a new level of collaboration and create solutions they wouldn’t be able to on their own.”

From September 20 to 22, teams will work with industry mentors with a goal of creating a culture of creative thinkers, entrepreneurs and innovators. Students will be provided with industry challenges and are expected to design solutions that are sustainable and respond to community needs. The wrap-up showcase event on Sunday will give local producers a chance to share their feedback individually with student teams.

Farm Credit Canada has committed funding towards McDalBridge to make it a two-year pilot project.

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