Under the deal, SDSU will receive a $5 million grant from Raven for the establishment of a Precision Ag Training facility, which will be housed within the university’s College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences on the SDSU main campus in Brookings, SD.
Other highlights of the deal include:
- SDSU currently enjoys rare standing among four-year University PrecisionAg training programs: According to the joint press release announcing the agreement, SDSU is the first land-grant university in the country to offer both a four-year degree and a minor in precision agriculture. The release also states that the aforementioned Precision Agriculture Facility will be “the nexus for innovation and collaboration across several disciplines, including engineering, agronomy, horticulture, mathematics and the decision sciences.” Dan Rykhus, President and CEO of Raven Industries, states: “As a leader in precision agriculture, Raven recognizes this unique opportunity to partner with SDSU. SDSU is leading the way in the development of the next generation of precision agriculture innovators with an enriching, multidisciplinary education and a robust learning experience. Raven and SDSU have enjoyed a long and positive relationship, and this facility will lead to further collaboration with faculty, staff, and students on emerging technology in support of the growing need for precision agriculture practices and tools.”
- Raven sees precision ag adoption growing in the near future: As the world population continues to increase, Raven writes, the demand for ag technology that promotes environmental stewardship — allowing farmers to grow more with less — is rising. “Our investment in this partnership reflects our strong belief that the demand for precision ag technology and solutions is rapidly growing across the globe,” continued Rykhus. “We believe it is our responsibility to help solve that great challenge.”
- South Dakota uniquely positioned for Ag Tech leadership: Raven states that “this gift is an investment in the current and future workforce of South Dakota. Raven and SDSU strongly believe that the state will be well-served by this partnership. Bringing this exceptional facility to South Dakota will allow the state to lead the nation in precision agriculture education, research and extension. From state and economic benefits to the development of a highly trained workforce, South Dakota is well-positioned to benefit from precision agriculture technology and adoption.”
Adds SDSU President Barry Dunn: “This generous gift by Raven will help transform the state of South Dakota into a global leader within an expanding precision agriculture industry. The proposed facility will enhance innovation and the development of educational programs that will deliver applications to enable data-driven decisions in precision farming, ranching and conservation. It will promote the type of collaboration between faculty, students and industry experts that will change agriculture and make our region and world a better place. Together, Raven and South Dakota State University are working to build a strong future and precision agriculture is that future.”
- The project still has one more hoop to jump through: According to the release, supporters of the project will seek legislative authority during the 2018 session to start construction of the Precision Agriculture Facility. A construction timeline will not be determined until legislative authority is granted.
UPDATE: Here’s some on-the-ground coverage, courtesy of the Sioux Falls Business Journal’s Jeremy J Fugleberg.
(Editor’s Note: PrecisionAg® Professional and its parent company, Meister Media Worldwide, are also in talks with South Dakota State University on a partnership around an upcoming industry training event known as the PrecisionAg Accelerator (www.precisionagaccelerator.com). Stay tuned to PrecisionAg.com and our print publication, PrecisionAg® Professional, for more details in the coming weeks and months.)