If you're looking for a way to getting back in touch with your rural roots, one of the most thorough educational options is Olds College. By working with Olds College on several projects we've gotten to know them pretty well, and our conversations with them always leave us proud and excited for the future of Agriculture.
Ready for a round up of our favourite parts of Olds College?
Where do we start? With a beer, of course!
The Olds College Brewery and Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management Program is well known across Canada as one of three educational options for up and coming brewers.
They are the best place to get a growler fill of the small batch student beer releases. (Retail store open Wed-Thurs 10am-5pm, Fri-Sat 11am-6pm) If you want to sit down and enjoy food with Olds College beer try the restaurant, Just Jack's, next door.
The students in this program also run The Saaz Club (Students Association for the Appreciation of Zymurgy), focused on beer education, creating community, and making connections to the beer industry.
The Smart Farm
Many people don’t realize what modern farming looks like, and what technologies are on the horizon. The Olds College Smart Farm focuses on 5 main research areas: autonomous agricultural equipment, sensors, data utilization, technology development and validation, and regenerative agriculture.
Whether you're a farmer, a gardener, or a house-plant enthusiast, there's technology and research happening at the Smart Farm that you can get excited about (no bio-sci degree necessary!)
Meet OMNiPower: an autonomous farm equipment platform changing the future of Agriculture equipment. Cab-less, and U-shaped that hooks into different OMNiDrive tools, and is operated with a (really fancy) remote control. Current tool add-ons include a 30-foot seeder, a 120-foot liquid sprayer, and a spreader unit.
From autonomous machinery, drones, and See-and-Spray sprayers, they're on top of testing out the latest innovations.
Red Shed worked with the Smart Farm, Grain Discovery, Decisive Farming and the Olds College Brewery to use Blockchain technology to trace barley from field to glass.
The result is the award-winning Barley Trail, a local lager.
The Smart Farm's annual tradeshow AgSmart is coming up on August 9 & 10. If you attend, make sure to check out any session including Dr. Joy Agnew – named one of the Top 50 Most Influential People in Canadian Agriculture.
The Field Crop Development Centre (FCDC) houses the barley breeding program, helping to pioneer new barley crosses designed for better craft brewing and distilling.
For this, you’ll have to make your way to Lacombe (so lunch at Cilantro and Chive and a visit to Blindman's brand new taproom might be in order too!)
The breeding program was recently transitioned from Alberta Agriculture to Olds College, and it’s a match made in heaven. Students in the Brewery and Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management Program will be able to learn about the newest barley varieties and what makes Alberta the ideal place to grow excellent malt barley.
Bringing the barley breeding program into Old College has additional benefits, too! It's a big advantage for the barley breeders to stay in touch with the latest trends in the craft beer industry and what attributes in barley they should be targeting in new crosses (like flavour!)
The FCDC released Lowe barley, which was the first variety geared towards all-grain (craft) brewing. Lowe also benefits farmers being the first variety that offers moderate resistance to the crop disease fusarium.