Precision Ag Center at SDSU Supported by South Dakota Corn

October 9, 2018

Every aspect of agriculture—from soil health to harvest—is influenced by precision ag. In response, South Dakota State University (SDSU), with financial support from South Dakota Corn Growers and Raven Precision Ag, broke ground on the Raven Precision Agriculture Center on October 6, 2018.

The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by more than 200 people. The $46.1 million Raven Precision Agriculture Center building project will have 129,000 square feet of floor space and world-class technologies.

“South Dakota Corn Growers has a vested interest in ensuring precision agriculture has the support to continue to solve the agronomic and production challenges that our South Dakota farmers face every day,” said Lisa Richardson, executive director of South Dakota Corn Growers and the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council. “Our farmers’ commitment to this center and precision ag curriculum expresses our belief in how critical this is to the future of agriculture.”

“We are thrilled to break ground on this state-of-the-art facility that will equip our students with the skills to launch successful careers feeding a hungry world,” says John Killefer, South Dakota Corn Utilization Council-Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.

“We appreciate the support of the many South Dakota stakeholders who are working with us to make South Dakota a global leader within the precision agriculture industry,” he says. “The new Raven Precision Agriculture Center will have outstanding classrooms and laboratories that will help foster innovation and collaboration across disciplines in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences and the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering.”

It is important to note that SDSU already offers both a bachelor’s degree and minor in precision agriculture and is the first land-grant university in the country to do so. The precision agriculture major offers courses in data analytics, GPS-GIS technology, soil sciences, precision crop production, plant pathology, precision data mapping, sensor technology, precision farm machinery, electrical diagnostics and weed/pest management.

“Our students are required to integrate their multi-disciplinary knowledge from those classes into problem-based learning through senior-level crop production courses and a capstone course in integrated resource management,” Killefer explains. “The new Raven Precision Agriculture Center will be able to house modern precision farm equipment and will provide collaborative learning spaces for student design projects. Flexible space will be available so scientists from a variety of departments and industries can collaborate in research and education.”

Groundwork is expected to begin this fall, with construction starting in the spring of 2019.

Mark Smither

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