UFA Co-operative Ltd. (UFA) together with Olds College of Agriculture & Technology are pleased to announce Justin Andersen as the Winner of the 2023 UFA Student Pitch Competition. Andersen won the competition with his Spatial Crop Production Management Software idea. Andersen is a farmer who grew up in the small community of Delia, Alta. He is currently enrolled in his second year of Precision Agriculture - Techgronomy at the Olds College of Agriculture & Technology and is working toward his degree in BASc - Agribusiness. Andersen has a strong desire to help farmers and make a positive impact on the agriculture and food industries.
UFA would like to thank the other two semi-finalists, Gregory Bundshoks and Jeryd Gordon, who have spent several months working hard to perfect their pitches. This is the fourth year of the UFA Student Pitch Competition as part of the five-year innovation partnership between UFA and Olds College of Agriculture & Technology.
"I’m honoured to win the Pitch Competition, and would also like to congratulate Gregory and Jeryd for their hard work and great pitches,” said Andersen. “I would like to thank Wendy Muise for her mentorship as we put together our ideas, as well as the staff at Olds College of Agriculture & Technology and UFA who helped organize this event. This was a great hands-on learning opportunity that really helped me develop my idea and practice pitching my business model."
“We are committed to investing in opportunities for students to be bold, to collaborate and to research their ideas to advance the agriculture industry,” said Bob Fink, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, UFA. “Together we are facilitating engagement to address the issues and challenges facing agriculture and to produce more while using less.”
The competition took place at the Werklund Agriculture and Technology Centre on the Olds College of Agriculture & Technology campus on Thursday, March 23. It consisted of three semi-finalists pitching their ideas to a panel of judges from UFA. The judges then scored each pitch using select criteria, capping off the formal program with the announcement of the winning pitch by UFA Board Chair, Kevin Hoppins.
The five-year financial commitment from UFA has enabled Olds College of Agriculture & Technology to create the UFA Innovation Lab, located on campus inside the Smart Ag Innovation Centre. In addition to the creation of the UFA Innovation Lab, the donation helps to fund the Olds College of Agriculture & Technology Smart Farm. The Smart Farm uses cutting-edge technology to provide a hands-on learning environment for students at the College and an opportunity for industry to develop, integrate and test new agriculture technology and practices. The final piece of the partnership includes the UFA Student Pitch Competition.
“Our partnership with UFA proves industry partnerships are good for the students, good for the College and good for the communities we serve,” says Ben Cecil, President, Olds College of Agriculture & Technology. “These learning experiences provide students the opportunity to explore new ideas, engage with exceptional mentors and industry partners, express their entrepreneurial creativity, and apply their learning into the real-world. Seeing the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of our students at the College truly exemplifies how we are working together towards Olds College of Agriculture & Technology’s social purpose of transforming agriculture for a better world. I’d like to thank UFA for their ongoing support in agriculture innovation, education and our students.”
UFA Board Chair and Olds graduate, Kevin Hoppins, says that the co-operative has a responsibility to invest in the future leaders of agriculture. “The investment at Olds College of Agriculture & Technology is an example of how we are focused on collaborating with our agricultural partners to actively engage, learn from and work with innovators in our community. Students like Justin and the other semi-finalists are transforming agriculture for a better world, and we are proud to be a part of it.”