The numbers are in and we are here to celebrate; the Explore Project has introduced 91,967 youth from K-12 to digital agriculture, including thousands of Indigenous youth across the prairies.

“We are very proud of the accomplishments of the Explore Project to date. With the agriculture industry rapidly evolving, it is crucial to continue to provide youth with opportunities to learn in-demand skills and increase their awareness of the digital agriculture industry,” said EMILI Manager of Skills and Talent Rachel LeClair 

LeClair has worked closely with Actua and Ag in the Classroom to build critical skills and connect youth with relevant career opportunities. Actua, with the assistance of 238 post-secondary student instructors and 102 high school interns and volunteers, successfully reached 87,848 youth. Meanwhile, Ag in the Classroom connected with an additional 4,000 students to bring the total number of students reached close to 92,000.

This program has also created opportunities for universities and colleges across the prairies to incorporate more digital agriculture into their existing STEM programs.

EMILI Managing Director Jacqueline Keena is impressed with the results, which have surpassed expectations. 

“With more than double our expected reach, this program has very successfully introduced a new generation to the potential that exists in digital agriculture,” she said.

AITC initially aimed for 60 classroom presentations in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta over the project lifespan. They more than doubled this goal, delivering 145 classroom presentations across the prairies. Over the next decade, the shortage in Canada’s agriculture industry is estimated at 123,000 workers but thanks to initiatives like the Explore Project, this gap is narrowing.

“As we work together to inspire more students to pursue careers in digital agriculture, we are able to bridge the skills gap and strengthen Canada’s reputation as a leader in this sector,” said Keena.

In addition to expanding their knowledge in topics like data, machine learning, and coding; students are gaining hands-on experience in how to apply these skills in future careers within the digital agriculture ecosystem. 

In classrooms across Canada, we are seeing an increase in digital agriculture content . Mutiple activities and resources are now available to enhance students’ exposure to and understanding of digital agriculture.

The “Everyday vs Agriculture Technology Matching Activity Cards” is a great example of this. The activity is designed for Grades 7-9, and helps students recognize the link between the technology they use in their daily lives and its relevance to agriculture. 

For students in Grades 10-12, engaging, educational video content offers a high-level understanding of the importance of innovative digital technologies and skills. The videos cover various aspects of agriculture, from primary production to the total supply and value chain.

“Career Cards” is another great resource. This interactive activity showcases a selection of careers within the agriculture industry, highlighting the diverse skills and knowledge required for each position.

Actua’s “Who Let the Cows Out,” activity, focuses on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and GPS herd tracking. Participants engage in coding Micro Bits to create receivers and transmitters that act as proximity beacons for tracking cows. This activity combines the concepts of hide and seek with technology, using Micro Bits and cows as the elements of the game.

“We are thrilled to see the many creative ways this program has been introduced into school curriculums,” said LeClair. 

Learn more about the Explore Project and follow #ExploreDigitalAg on social media to learn more about how EMILI, Actua and Ag in the Classroom are working together to prepare the leaders of the future.

Written by Antonio De Luca, EMILI Marketing and Communications Summer Student