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This team of engineers and technologists specialize in producing information based on research, development and evaluation for agricultural machinery and technology. Whether you are a farmer or a small business operating in the agriculture industry, the Agricultural Technology Centre (AgTech Centre) provides expertise in the areas of:
Research and Extension
AgTech Centre staff work with ARD, other ministries and industry partners to develop innovative tools to assist the industry in solving problems, enhancing environmental performance and promoting competitiveness. Some recent examples are:
- Investigate new cropping strategies and equipment
- Conduct greenhouse gas research and apply to mitigation work
- Research renewable energy technologies
- Develop carbon footprinting tools for assessing farm operations
Have you ever wanted to design equipment, but didn't know where to begin? Perhaps you want to modify a current machinery model. If you are an innovator, small business or a manufacturer, the AgTech Centre can help you. We offer state-of-the-art test facilities and the latest in engineering expertise.
The Centre evaluates the latest farm equipment and technology used in the agriculture industry. Through these independent evaluations, staff outline the applications and limitations of machinery and equipment. Machines that are on the market or prototypes are analyzed for power requirements, work rates, safety features and general suitability for use on the prairies. Laboratory and field evaluations are conducted with engineers searching for ways to improve equipment. As a result, evaluations provide information that you can use to save both time and money.
Information and technology transfer
The Agricultural Technology Centre has built a reputation for integrity and has gained the trust of the industry by providing timely, unbiased information over the past 20 years. Staff are also leaders in extension and resource services. We offer presentations, demonstration days and sponsored clinics in specialized topic areas.
The Agricultural Technology Centre (formerly the Alberta Farm Machinery Research Centre (AFMRC)) was established as research facility within the Engineering Services Branch of Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (AAFRD) in 1988, but we have actually been around since 1976. AgTech Centre's roots come from the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI). PAMI was established in 1974 as a three-prairie province agreement. Funding for PAMI came from each province's department of agriculture. The Institute's mandate was to evaluate machinery and related technologies, as well as provide assistance to manufacturers in the development of their products. The end result was an extensive series of evaluation reports that were distributed through a subscription system. Stations were located in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba and Lethbridge, Alberta. The station in Alberta was originally housed in the Lethbridge Community College, with our own facility built in 1978 on the campus. Lethbridge was chosen for its extended test season, diversity of crops in the area and variety of soil, topography and climatic conditions. Under PAMI, each station developed technical areas of expertise. This expertise was divided along machinery function, i.e., Humboldt - harvesting equipment, Portage la Prairie- forage and specialty equipment and Lethbridge - seeding, tillage and spraying equipment. These divisions of expertise still exist today and prevent unnecessary duplication.
The decision to incorporate the Alberta PAMI station directly into Engineering Services was based on financial and program reasons. Since 1988, AgTech Centre's direction and program scope has changed and expanded from its PAMI days. The biggest change has been the emphasis towards research and the application of technologies to complex agrifood systems and problems. Besides program changes, AgTech Centre has also benefited by having a closer relationship with ARD staff and programs. The result has been a steady and productive growth of the Centre as a first class research facility. AgTech Centre's business has remained the same in that our role is to produce and transfer information gathered through our research, development and evaluation programs using a variety of cooperating partners.
Since 1988, PAMI's role has evolved as well. The two provinces have maintained core funding but a growing majority of its funding comes from outside sources. Currently PAMI not only serves the agriculture sector as a contract test facility, but many other industries as well, i.e., construction, manufacturing, mining and forestry. To this day, PAMI and AgTech Centre share their common agricultural roots, areas of expertise and information bases. Cooperation and coordination of programs and projects with PAMI, as well as other agencies and institutions, is a strategy AgTech Centre continues to strive for. The result is PAMI is another link for our clients' in their search for the latest information.
The Agricultural Technology Centre (AgTech Centre) is at the forefront of machinery evaluations, applied and scientific research, and development of innovative agricultural technologies.
Producers, manufacturers and any other interested parties are invited to contact the AgTech Centre for more information.
Agricultural Technology Centre
3020 College Drive South
Lethbridge, Alberta T1K 1L6
M.Sc. P.Eng. Director, Engineering and Climate Services
Environmental Stewardship Division
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
3020 College Drive South
Lethbridge, AB T1K 1L6
Project Engineer, EIT