Olds College and AFSC partner for industry and research learning

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

Olds College and Agricultural Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) have created a formal partnership by signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU).

As part of the MOU, AFSC will provide support for applied research activities on the Olds College Smart Farm that will drive innovation in agriculture.

Dr. Joy Agnew, associate vice president of applied research at Olds College, says the partnership is a five year arrangement, with AFSC committing to up to $100,000 a year.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to continue to work with our industry partners to really define the questions that need to be answered, with an asset like the Smart Farm and the team of experts that we’re building here,” explains Agnew. “It’s all producer led or producer driven, because AFSC services producers, and can definitely leverage and utilize data and technology, to help streamline those claim processes and make sure that farmers are supported.”

Olds College and AFSC are already collaborating on three new projects in 2022: Hail damage classification using drones, analyzing soil moisture probe measurements for moisture deficiency, and exploring soil moisture, weather and forage biomass relationships.

During the 2022 growing season, the College research team is visiting fields after hailstorms occur to see if high definition imaging from drones can be used to classify hail damaged areas within crop fields. Researchers will create a database of hail damaged crops imagery and see if this could assist ASFC adjusters in the assessment process.

Agnew adds that this partnership will be very valuable to both parties, as it will allow AFSC to leverage as much data as possible.

“They’ve been relying on some older algorithms so to speak, based on what was currently available back in the day. But there’s just so much more data available that can really update, and make sure that the programs and the calculations are truly representative of what we’re seeing, in terms of crop production and crop loss when hail events and other events happen such as drought,” she says.

Check out the full conversation filmed at AgSmart at Olds, Alta., below:

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