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Lethbridge College Boosted by $1M for Irrigation Research

By Jean-Paul McDonald

Lethbridge College, a leading institution in applied research, has recently received a significant boost in the form of a $1 million grant from the Alberta government. This funding is earmarked for expanding the college's research capabilities in irrigation science, a move that promises to make waves in the agricultural sector. 

The grant is part of a larger $3.6 million funding initiative from Alberta’s Research Capacity Program College Fund, aimed at enhancing post-secondary research infrastructure across the province. Lethbridge College is one of four institutions benefitting from this program, a testament to its commitment to advancing agricultural technologies. 

This funding announcement was made by Nathan Neudorf, Minister of Affordability and Utilities and MLA for Lethbridge-East. He emphasized the critical importance of water management and agriculture to the region's economy and lifestyle. The minister praised Lethbridge College for its innovative approach to smart irrigation, viewing it as a crucial step towards a sustainable future. 

Lethbridge College, a leading institution in applied research, has recently received a significant boost in the form of a $1 million grant from the Alberta government.

The $1 million provincial grant complements an earlier $1 million federal contribution from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), cumulatively providing the Mueller Irrigation Research Group at the college with $2 million for smart irrigation infrastructure. This funding will be instrumental in advancing the college's research farm just east of Lethbridge. 

Andrew Dunlop, Director of Applied Research Operations at Lethbridge College, acknowledged the significance of these grants. He highlighted their role in facilitating important research collaborations in southern Alberta, which will ultimately benefit the local economy and foster future growth. 

The smart irrigation infrastructure at the college's research farm is a pioneering initiative in Canada. These grants will enable the Mueller Irrigation Research Group to enhance its research capabilities, offering unique opportunities for students, researchers, and industry partners alike. 

Dr. Willemijn Appels, Senior Applied Research Chair, outlined the practical applications of this funding. It will allow for the acquisition of cutting-edge irrigation technology and plant/soil sensing equipment.  

This technology will be used to conduct detailed studies on irrigation management, nutrient and land management, and their impacts on soils and crops. The goal is to derive practical strategies for precision agriculture in irrigation. 

The new equipment will not only improve the college's capacity for laboratory work but will also reduce reliance on external analysis, boosting in-house research and student projects. This initiative is a significant step forward in developing precision irrigation management strategies and optimizing water use efficiency in Alberta's agricultural sector. 

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