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Ag’s technological advancements showcased

The future of farming, along with the here and now, was on full display at Olds College’s south campus last week.
 
Robots, thermal imaging, nutrient data sensors, drones and thermal imaging were but a few of the technological advancements showcased at AgSmart.
 
“If you hear the word farm and think of a red barn, a round fendered pickup truck or a ruddy-faced guy or gal in a straw hat you’re watching the History channel. Today’s agriculture isn’t your grandpa’s farm,” keynote speaker Robert Saik, told a crowd gathered on Aug. 13 for the kick-off to the two day event.
 
More than 2,000 people attended Agri-Trade and Olds College’s new event, AgSmart.
 
The hands-on demonstration and education expo focused on agriculture technology and data across the sector -how to gather it, and how to use it to enhance productivity and profits.
 
The expo featured conference-style education sessions and workshops, including a keynote address from the Tornado Hunter, Greg Johnson, on the rewards of taking risks.
 
Saik’s keynote address was on Food 5.0; a convergence of technologies that will re-shape the future of food production.
 
“It’s driven by Moore’s Law, exponential growth and data connectivity,” said Saik.
 
With billions more people to feed by 2050, Saik said “the next 30 years could be the most critical in agriculture’s history on the planet.”
 
Food production in all parts of the world must be increased by 60 to 70 per cent to meet global population growth, he said.
 
The pressure on Canadian farmers to meet global demand is even higher than other areas of the world, Saik said, because Canada is one of only a handful of areas in the world that grows more food than its population consumes.
 
To meet demand, agriculture must be infinitely sustainable, he said.
 
“To be infinitely sustainable we need all the tools – genetics, fertilizers, crop protection products, sensors, data, algorithms, robots and much much more,” said Saik.
 
Some of those tools were on display at AgSmart, including the DOT autonomous robotic platform. Saik is the CEO of the company retailing the platform and AgSmart was its Alberta debut.
 
Over 75 exhibitors were at the outdoor show. The Ag Maximizer hay dryer and AgraCity Drones demonstrations were but a few that gave attendees a hands-on agriculture technology experience.
 
During his keynote address, Saik pointed out other advancements.
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