Wheat Growers’ commitment in providing its farmer-owners with the latest in technological advancements now has a one-of-a-kind focal point, as the Innovation Center officially opened for business December 18 with a grand opening celebration. The Center is located on the grounds of Wheat Growers’ Bath, SD facility.
“We’re very excited about what this facility allows us to do for our farmer-owners, their equipment and ideas and for ourselves internally,” says Steve Briggs, Wheat Growers Senior Vice President, Agronomy and Corporate Marketing. “Credit goes to our board of directors for their vision for the future of our co-op and the industry.”
South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Lucas Lentsch, in a letter congratulating Wheat Growers on the Innovation Center, said, “The lnnovation Center will help the producers in the state learn first-hand what precision ag tools are available and provide them the necessary training to get the most out of their investments. I look forward to seeing the great benefits from your efforts for years to come.”
The 36,000-square-foot Innovation Center has four distinct sections:
The Innovation Showroom promotes technology and the understanding of its possibilities for Wheat Growers’ farmer-customers. This section showcases software and hardware demonstrations and displays, new communication tools, innovative equipment and technologies from Wheat Growers’ supply partners in precision ag. Wheat Growers’ staff was on hand during the grand opening to explain and demonstrate the technologies.
The Demonstration Theater is for demonstrations of equipment and hardware for planters, tractors and other farm equipment. It has stadium seating for approximately 50 people for year-round training on equipment, custom application, safety and other topics for Wheat Growers staff and customers. Video of demonstrations can be live-streamed to other Wheat Growers facilities around the Dakotas.
The Equipment Modification Shop is for internal repairs and maintenance on equipment, including modifications such as fertilizer attachments, precision hardware, seed meter calibration, pump repair and planting hardware.
The Wheat Growers Parts Store brings together the entire Wheat Growers’ parts inventory that was spread out in several areas of the Bath location. It will be a well-managed, state-of-the-art store run by professional parts experts.
“This is truly a one-of-a-kind facility,” Briggs says. “We have received interest and excitement about the Center from SDSU, Lake Area Technical Institute, Mitchell Technical Institute and equipment manufacturers. We are looking at joint training and educational efforts with them at the Center.”