Lakeland College is set to receive $1 million in federal research funding through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) in support of smart agriculture technology.

The CFI’s College-Industry Innovation Fund investment will support the development of Lakeland’s new Agriculture Technology Centre, the central repository for all data collected on the Student-Managed Farm – Powered by New Holland (SMF) at its Vermilion campus.

Michael Crowe, vice president of academic and applied research at Lakeland, says that with the CFI’s support, the college will continue to move forward with establishing their new Agriculture Technology Centre as the ‘nerve centre’ for research, collection, and analysis of data collected from new ag technologies used on the SMF.

“We are very fortunate to receive this funding and are excited for how it will enable our research team to support producers and agriculture companies to increase productivity, efficiency, quality and sustainability of livestock and crop production,” says Crowe.

Funding will go towards the construction of a new Livestock Reproductive Technology Laboratory and on-farm connectivity infrastructure, enabling the SMF to become a fully connected, data-driven, commercial-scale smart farm.

Lakeland’s agriculture technology and equipment will grow to include the following inventory, thanks to the CFI investment:

  • specialized sensors and monitoring technology;
  • livestock reproductive equipment;
  • emission detection equipment for livestock;
  • mobile imagery for phenotypic trait capture in cattle;
  • optical spot-spraying technology for crops; and
  • an unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) fitted with two multispectral cameras for crops and livestock research applications.

“The CFI’s investment champions Lakeland’s innovation and producer-led research priorities,” says Dr. Alice Wainwright-Stewart, president and CEO of Lakeland. “We look forward to opening the Agriculture Technology Centre – an advanced  space for our research team to produce results of value for commercial agriculture producers. Our students will also benefit, gaining the skills required for their future careers in a transforming sector.”

Slated to officially open this fall, the Agriculture Technology Centre will serve as the home for the college’s new degree in ag tech, which launches in September.

Total cost of the project is valued at $2.6 million.

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