As agriculture continues to grow, new processes and equipment are constantly popping up, leading to a need for trained professionals who can determine what's best for a farm.

That's why Saskatchewan Polytechnic is offering a new course, specifically designed for agriculture's changing needs.

The Agriculture and Food Production Diploma is an 80-week program focused on providing up-to-date tutelage on agricultural needs, especially on the prairies.

The course will be focusing on both in-classroom and in the field learning, with a full acreage that the students will be utilizing over the year.

Jamie Hilts, the Dean for the schools of mining, energy and manufacturing, and the schools of natural resources and environment, says that the program itself has been a long time coming with the idea first being floated back in 2015.

He says the program is poised to help deal with an increased pace of development with agriculture.

"We recognize for sure that agriculture is still a significant economic driver in the province, and as technology continues to advance and evolve at a very fast pace," said Hilts, "There's a need to ensure that there's a skilled workforce to utilize that technology to ensure we can have maximum productivity."

One of those skills is what's called "in-seat learning" on Sask Polytech's website, which is referencing the program's aspect of letting those students who may not have grown up on farms learn how to operate farm machinery, as part of the upkeep on their 12 acres.

Hilts also hopes the program not only teaches students who are in the Saskatchewan ag community but also entices others from outside the province to come and join the workforce."

"Certainly our hope is that as we bring students into the program on the Moose Jaw campus that they'll return back to their home communities," said Hilts, "Or if their students coming in from different areas of the country they'll certainly stay in Saskatchewan."

The class will be taking 30 students in its first year, with an expected 25 hours of class time.

The program will also include three paid co-operative work terms and a capstone project for the students.

The first class of the program begins in the fall of 2022.

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