Olds Collage received a generous land donation from an Alberta family on Wednesday and the gift will allow the facility to expand its high-tech, Smart Farm.  

The 316 acres, valued at $1.2 million, are near Carstairs and were donated by the estate of Willem Pitstra.

Willem and his wife, Marrigje, immigrated from Holland and met in Canada. They lived in Calgary before purchasing the farmland west of Carstairs in the 1980s.

The Pitstras valued education and loved the trades, horticulture and agriculture.

The couple’s daughter, Jackie, said in a statement that her parents would be ‘thrilled’ to know they are contributing to research to improve farming practices.

“I believe my Dad felt that the college would appreciate the land, and that by donating to the school he would be contributing towards a legacy of education for future generations,” she said.

The Olds College Smart Farm was launched in 2018 and uses the latest technologies to improve productivity, profits and sustainability.

“The Smart Farm creates a cutting edge learning environment for our students and lifelong learners by providing a hands-on venue for industry to develop, integrate and test new agriculture technology that will evolve our current ag practices,” said Patrick Machacek, Vice President, Develop and Strategy, in the statement.

To learn more about the Olds College Smart Farm, visit the website.