25 Best Colleges for Precision Agriculture

Choosing the right college is a process. It’s one that I’m just now embarking on with my teenage daughter. Long before she’ll find herself inundated with acceptance letters (or at least I hope so), she’ll need to visit campuses, take her SATs, apply to a range of schools, consider scholarship and student loan options, and so on and so on. It’s crazy, scary, and exciting all rolled into one.

Perhaps the biggest step in the process is choosing a major. In agriculture, more and more students are focusing their studies on the quickly growing field of precision agriculture. And colleges are taking notice. South Dakota State University (SDSU), for example, was the first college in the U.S. to offer a four-year precision ag degree in 2016. I anticipate more schools will follow SDSU’s lead, further developing the ag technology programs and courses that they already offer.

So which schools are the best of the best when it comes to precision agriculture? The editors at PrecisionAg Professional recently attempted to answer this question. Based on feedback from industry experts and Internet research, we compiled a list of the top precision ag programs at colleges and universities in the world (see slideshow above). We also surveyed the heads of these programs to provide a self-assessment and peer review, including listing the schools they think have the best reputation in education, research, and extension/outreach for precision agriculture. Only four-year schools are included in this initial list. We also plan to publish a separate ranking of the top technical and community colleges for precision agriculture in the near future.

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12 comments on “25 Best Colleges for Precision Agriculture

  1. I think you are missing all the smaller community and junior colleges around the country that have developed programs that are successfully thriving before many of the major universities got on board. Lake Region Dakota Precision Ag Center and Univ MN – Crookston to name a couple. Satshot has many more smaller college affiliations across the country that use our tools and imagery datasets. Please do an article on them.

    1. Hi Lanny,

      Yes, as I mentioned in the article, I plan to do a separate list of the top technical and community colleges in the future. Thanks for these suggestions. It will help with the list!

  2. Colorado State University started a 4 yr program on precision agriculture called “Applied Information Technology in Agriculture” or AIT-Ag in 1999. So not sure how you were counting, but our program has been around for a little while.

    1. Hi Raj, Thanks for the additional information. Colorado State definitely has a great reputation in precision agriculture/ag technology and needs to be recognized for it!

  3. Thanks for this list. Some of our students are looking to transfer to a four-year university after completing a Precision Agriculture associates degree with us. Look forward to the list of 2 year schools

      1. HI Matt,
        I’m with Clark State Community College in Springfield, OH. We have the only 2 year approved program in Ohio. I would nominate that Parkland College in IL and Ellsworth Community College in IA be considered for your top 25 list of two year colleges.
        Best, Larry

  4. How do we get high school students interested in precision agriculture so they can take advantage of these wonderful institutions? I do teach a precision farming course but I, like many other high school teachers, are looking for something that will spark the interest of our students. When are we going to see precision farming companies providing us with curriculum/lessons and equipment to be able to inspire and encourage our students to consider a major in precision farming and attend these schools?

    1. Trimble includes lesson plans with their Trimble Ag Software. Students have a workbook and a farm project on their computer to walk through various scenarios within precision agriculture. All of this is included with the educational license of the software. These lesson plans really helps at the high school level because we understand the teachers are teaching a variety of topics, so this helps bypass all the learning that comes with a new software solution. If you want to learn more, call Trimble software sales team at 1-800-282-4103.

    2. Jessica, Parkland College (Champaign, IL) works with high schools for Precision Ag curriculum. We conduct workshops for high teachers and we also have an online high school precision Ag course. Contact me if you would like more information. [email protected].

      Thanks,
      Jenni

  5. Matt, thanks for this comprehensive listing. When you publish your ranking of the top technical and community colleges, make sure to take a close look at what we’re doing at Olds College in Olds, Alberta. Our vision is to be Canada’s Smart Ag College and to ensure we live up to that statement we are currently building out our Smart Ag Ecosystem and implementing our OC Smart Farm, a digital backbone taking shape on our 2000 acre demo farm, with a May 4th, 2018 launch.

    1. Thanks Jason for sharing the info. I’ll be sure give Olds College strong consideration in the tech/community schools list.

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