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Didsbury-area couple grants college half section of ag land

Donation announced last week
A Mountain View County farm family, George and Marge Steckler, have made a future estate gift to Olds College. File photo

DIDSBURY – Local couple George and Marge Steckler have made a generous donation to the Olds College Smart Farm.

The couple has committed a future estate gift that includes 320 acres of farmland that will be integrated into the Olds College Smart Farm, officials announced last week.

As well as the land, the gift also includes an endowment fund for student bursaries that will be awarded to eligible students enrolled in agriculture programs at the school.

Farming in the area since 1973, the Stecklers have now retired but say their passion for agriculture remains strong.

“We enjoyed farming,” Marge said in a press release from the college. “We had a great life on the farm. It provided us with independence to work for ourselves.

“I can’t think of anything better than for us to provide a gift of land and funds to support students attending Olds College. It feels right to help the next generation, and it’s nice to know that our name will continue on through this donation.”

For his part, George says he welcomes the opportunity to promote future agriculture.

“It gives us pleasure to know our good, viable farmland will continue to be used for farming long after we are gone,” said George.

“I look forward to seeing students out on the land, and to check out what they are doing. To see students benefit from our land will be wonderful.”

Olds College president Stuart Cullum called the donation very welcome.

“On behalf of Olds College, I would like to sincerely thank George and Marge Steckler for this amazing gift,” Cullum said in a press release. “By addressing the financial needs of students and providing additional land for the college to expand its focus on hands-on learning and farmer led applied research, the Stecklers have truly provided a legacy gift for our students and the agriculture industry.

“We know that industry needs applied research environments, such as the Olds College Smart Farm to develop, validate and demonstrate innovative technology and practice, focused

on the issues that matter.”

The gift will allow the college to “increase our land base and as such, expand our capacity to work with companies and producers on the challenges of today and the opportunities of the


“It also means that Olds College can provide more students with a one-of-a-kind learning environment focused on the future of agriculture.”

Some smart farm technology has already been placed on the Steckler farm, including a Farmer’s Edge weather station that monitors dew point, humidity, wind speed and precipitation levels.

The data is fed back to the Farmers Edge dashboard that is used at the Olds College Smart Farm, he said.

The Smart Farm is creating a cutting-edge learning environment for students and lifelong learners, and is committed to supporting the agriculture industry through agriculture technology applied research, he said.

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