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Walk Farming Smarter’s Fields From Home

By Austin Van Amerongen with files from M. Baerg

Lethbridge College and Farming Smarter teamed up to bring tours to people through new technology. Together, they are developing a series of 360-degree videos and virtual reality experiences in order to educate farmers about some of Farming Smarter’s ongoing research projects.

This partnership feature predates the summer 2020 imperative to hold live stream events due to restrictions on public gatherings. According to Jamie Puchinger, Farming Smarter assistant manager, the project began in early 2019.

“When we did our annual survey to members in January 2019, the results showed that the top two ways farmers wanted information is digitally and through coming to events. If we can combine the two – make it so they can get everything they would from being in our plots without actually having to be here – that’s the best of both worlds,” says Puchinger, and the project’s lead. “Our whole purpose with this project, and with a lot of what we do, is to find innovative ways to communicate information to our industry.”

The project is by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, and the two-year long project kicked off in January 2019. Throughout the summer, Lyle Ruggles of the Lethbridge College was in the fields with 360-degree cameras capturing footage for a virtual tour of a bio-bed, a time lapse of Farming Smarter’s hemp trials, an immersive leaf cutter bee exhibit, and a 3D model of a diseased pulse crop root system.

The partnership projects include virtual reality experiences, 360-degree video, 3D modeling, podcasts,  and an app to host all their educational tools.

Read the original article in the Fall 2019 Farming Smarter Magazine