An industry leader dedicated to the southern Alberta agriculture community is taking a hands-on approach to education, as Western Tractor Company Ltd. announced, June 23, 2016, a $750,000 multi-faceted gift to Lethbridge College.
The gift meets the shared commitments of both Western Tractor and Lethbridge College to advance education and industry by using the latest, state-of-the-art equipment and technologies.
“It’s great to see the renewed focus and investment that Lethbridge College is making in the future of agriculture and the next generation of farming,” says Western Tractor President and General Manager Steven Dyck. “Western Tractor is very excited to be in partnership with this initiative.”
Western Tractor’s gift will support the college’s new trades and technologies facility through the creation of the Western Tractor Technology Lab – an advanced agricultural technologies room inside the first phase of the new building. Western Tractor will supply the lab with industry-leading technology to benefit both Agricultural and Heavy Equipment Technician apprenticeship training over a five-year span. In addition, Western Tractor has also signed a five-year agreement to supply John Deere equipment to Lethbridge College, allowing hands-on training for students, while providing the opportunity for them to stay in southern Alberta and take all four years of Agricultural Equipment Technician apprenticeship training in Lethbridge for the first time.
“The support of Western Tractor provides a framework that allows us to keep the most current technologies on-site and in the hands of our students and faculty,” says Lethbridge College President and CEO Dr. Paula Burns. “We are proud of the success of our Agricultural Equipment Technician apprenticeship program that has seen 100 per cent of our students pass the course, with marks more than 10 per cent above the provincial average. This partnership will even further enhance what we are doing here at the college.”
Western Tractor and John Deere are heavily invested in research and development projects while embracing new and evolving technologies within the agriculture and agronomy industries. This investment will help bolster industry in southern Alberta as educators can work more closely with industry leaders.
“This partnership is more than just a financial contribution to the Possibilities are Endless campaign,” says Dyck. “We wanted to ensure that there was an investment of state-of–the-art equipment, technology and leadership in the field of precision farming.”
Western Tractor Company Ltd. has four locations in southern Alberta in Lethbridge, Taber, Burdett and Medicine Hat, and the company values programs that support rural communities, young farmers and sustainable farming practices.
When completed in 2017, Lethbridge College’s new trades and technologies facility will be the largest centre of its kind south of Calgary and will house students in multiple skilled trades and technology programs.