SaskTel and the University of Saskatchewan (USask) have announced a partnership to launch a “living laboratory” at the Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence (LFCE), south of Clavet, Sask., to test, develop, and demonstrate agricultural technologies.

Through a memorandum of understanding, the two organizations will focus on smart farming research and innovation to “accelerate transformation in the province’s agriculture industry,” by collecting and analyzing big data, enabling producers to make informed and sustainable farm management decisions that improve productivity, according to a press release.

“The agriculture sector is an important driver in the success of our province,” says Don Morgan, minister responsible for SaskTel. “I am pleased to see SaskTel and USask working together on an important initiative to benefit farming in Saskatchewan.”

The initiative โ€” driven by engineering, agriculture, and computer science researchers โ€” will focus on conducting research, improving education around Smart Farming, and testing and validating new ag tech ideas and solutions.

While not the first smart farm on a campus in Canada, the LFCE will be the first to focus on maximizing efficiency in livestock operations through the latest Internet of Things-based technology in an interconnected wireless environment.

“We are excited to partner with SaskTel to help producers advance livestock farming to the next level through use of some of the world’s best digital agricultural technologies โ€” from drones equipped with software, to sensors that can monitor herds and their health,” says Karen Chad, vice-president, research, at USask. “This cutting-edge research will help meet the world’s increasing food demands, while enhancing training of our students in the latest high-tech farming techniques.”

SaskTel and USask will invite key stakeholders in the ag industry to identify challenges, propose solutions, and initiate projects to test and validate solutions at the LFCE.

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