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Do you have a new precision ag idea?

Do you have a new precision ag idea?

The Precision Agriculture Scholarship Contest is back in 2021

By Ryan Ridley is pleased to announce the return of the Precision Agriculture Scholarship Contest, part of this year’s Precision Agriculture Conference & Ag Technology Showcase.

Students who have a new precision agriculture idea are invited to enter the contest for a chance to win one of three US$2,000 scholarships.

The contest is open to students in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, with one scholarship to be awarded in each country. To be eligible to win, you must be enrolled full-time in a college or university program.

Students can be studying in any field, not just agriculture, but the idea needs to be practical and applicable to farmers.

These ideas will be submitted via a social media video (Twitter and Facebook). The video should describe the student’s research/thesis or new idea regarding precision agriculture.

A panel of judges, comprised of sponsors, industry leaders, and staff, will determine the top submissions in each region, which will be posted on,, and De Lacy Executive for voting. 

This year, the theme for the scholarships will be for precision agriculture ideas that meet ESG goals or Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance – three central factors in measuring sustainability.

Farmers will be invited to vote on the concept they believe is most worthy in each country, which will determine with winner of each (3) US$2,000 scholarship.

In addition to the scholarship prize, the winners, as determined by voting in each country, will be invited to participate in a Student Panel as part of the Precision Agriculture Conference. Here they will have the opportunity to present their thesis idea in more detail to farmers attending the event.

Last year’s scholarship winners include:

United States – Austin Brown, Penn State University
Canada – Nicholas Bannon, University of Guelph
United Kingdom – Will Smith, University of Lincoln

“ is passionate about precision agriculture, and our passion was reinvigorated last year when we reviewed the wealth of innovative ideas submitted by the scholarship entries,” said President and CEO Graham Dyer. “Their ideas were practical, insightful, as well as leading edge.” 

The scholarship contest will open this summer, stay tuned for more information.

This article is featured in the June edition of the Precision Agriculture Digital Digest.

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The FCDC and AgSmart Bring Plant Breeding to a Wider Audience

Video: The FCDC and AgSmart Bring Plant Breeding to a Wider Audience

In the vast prairies of Alberta, Olds College’s Field Crop Development Centre (FCDC) stands as a beacon of innovation and research in the agricultural world. The institution has become a key player in advancing agricultural technologies and practices. The FCDC’s commitment to applied research has driven them to seek effective means of disseminating their findings and creating a positive impact on the farming community.

One such avenue that aligns with their mission is AgSmart, an event dedicated to showcasing cutting-edge agricultural technologies. The coming together of the FCDC’s annual Field Day and Ag Smart has proved to be a natural fit, fostering a synergy that benefits both parties and propels the agriculture industry forward. The FCDC Field Day took part in conjunction with AgSmart for the first time this week on Aug. 1-2 in Olds, Alta. FCDC Program Director Kofi Agblor and Olds College VP of Development Todd Ormann sat down for an interview with Marc Zienkiewicz to discuss the significance of the two events taking part together and what the future holds.

The Intersection of Research and Technology The essence of the FCDC lies in its dedication to plant breeding and new seed varieties, particularly barley and triticale. While conducting research is essential, it becomes meaningful when its benefits are shared with the wider community. This is where AgSmart steps in, providing a key venue for the FCDC to showcase their research. This union between research and technology creates a holistic and enriching experience for farmers, ranchers, and industry professionals, the pair said.

Seeds as Technology For the FCDC, the partnership with AgSmart goes beyond mere event collaboration. It is about creating an environment that bridges the gap between seeds and smart technology, Ormann said. The college believes that for technology to truly revolutionize agriculture, it must begin with a strong foundation — high-quality seeds. As the saying goes, “it all starts with a seed.” To demonstrate this critical aspect, the collaboration aims to showcase the seed value chain as an integral part of the smartphone.

The Birth of a Powerful Alliance The idea of joining forces emerged when staff realized the potential synergy between AgSmart and the FCDC Field Day. With just a few days separating the two events, a proposal was put forward to merge them. The marketing and communications teams from both sides worked seamlessly to ensure the essence of both events remained intact, creating a powerful alliance that leverages the strengths of each, Agblor said.

Driving Advancements in Breeding For Agblor, the partnership with AgSmart has tremendous potential to drive advancements in breeding and other technology. With technologies like drones and imaging becoming integral to phenotyping, breeding is no longer confined to vast fields to assess thousands of plants manually. Instead, it benefits from the data-rich insights brought about by smart technologies. These advancements make breeding more efficient, precise, and instrumental in shaping the future of agriculture.

Overcoming Challenges Together While the partnership between Olds College and Ag Smart has been a resounding success, there are challenges on the horizon. Securing stable funding for long-term breeding initiatives is crucial to sustain progress. The college is committed to navigating these challenges and investing in agriculture’s future sustainably, Agblor said.