Industry partners and producers have identified that Ag digitization represents the one of the biggest opportunities – and one of the greatest barriers – for the future growth and development of the sector.  However, data is often a double-edged sword: too much is choking many producers, and too little is preventing enhanced decisions that can strengthen production, sustainability and profitability.  

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Answering the Digital Ag Question

Industry partners and producers have identified that Ag digitization represents the one of the biggest opportunities – and one of the greatest barriers – for the future growth and development of the sector.  However, data is often a double-edged sword: too much is choking many producers, and too little is preventing enhanced decisions that can strengthen production, sustainability and profitability. 

Olds College recognizes that it has a responsibility to help answer the digital Ag question for producers and affiliated industry partners.  By focusing on helping producers and technology companies collect, integrate, and utilize agricultural data for evidence-based decision making, Olds College is also gaining the insight and direction needed to develop our Smart Farm.  As such, Olds College views digital Ag not as a foundational issue, but as a directional issue that is pulling the Smart Farm forward.

To address this issue head-on, Olds College contracted Dr. Alex Melnitchouck to develop a digital Ag strategy that includes clear guidance for the development and collection of Smart Farm data, as well as an implementation roadmap of digital technologies throughout the College’s current – and future – farming operations.  

Dr. Melnitchouck joins the college as our Digital Ag Strategist with over 25 years in agricultural science and industry experience at the international level (including Canada, USA, Brazil, Australia, Germany, UK, France, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus). Alex brings an in-depth knowledge of agronomy, soil science, crop modeling, spatial statistics, GIS, and remote sensing applications for the agriculture industry. In 2015, Bayer CropScience had acquired Zoner.Ag - a web-based platform for geospatial data analysis created by Dr. Melnitchouck in collaboration with his partners. Alex joined Bayer CropScience as Global Technology Lead with the Digital Farming division. Zoner.Ag technology became a foundational platform for creation of xarvioTM Field Manager, currently owned by BASF. 

His primary focus at Olds College is to create a digital environment that supports and enhances our learning programs and applied research initiatives; and at the same time, organize data flow, collection, analysis, and decision-making processes for the college’s farming and livestock operations.