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CHS Foundation awards precision agriculture grant to Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

Thursday, August 11, 2022

a college student works on his final project during a recent BAE showcase.


The CHS Foundation awarded $246,000 to Oklahoma State University’s Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering to fund hands-on learning opportunities for students studying precision agriculture.


Each year, the CHS Foundation board of trustees selects funding priorities for initiatives at two and four-year colleges and universities. According to board members, precision agriculture has held precedence since 2020 because of industry need for graduates with fresh ideas, exceptional technical knowledge and the critical thinking skills necessary to continue the advancement of American agriculture.


“The CHS Foundation recognizes the continuing strength and importance of precision agriculture and remains committed to supporting education that develops future ag leaders,” Nanci Lilja, CHS Foundation president, said. “The world depends on agriculture, and the industry has never been more important than it is today. We need innovation and technology advancements to drive agriculture forward and attract the best possible talent to our industry.”


The BAE department has a long-standing legacy of technological advancement, research and experiential learning. This commitment recently culminated in the addition of the department’s second major; agricultural systems technology. The new degree offering is part of a larger initiative led by BAE to stay on pace with the rapidly evolving technology agriculture relies on today.


Associate professor John Long said he looks forward to seeing the impacts of the foundation’s investment.


“Exposure to innovative technologies, especially in sensors and autonomous platforms, gives students an unmatched opportunity to be ahead of the technology curve when they enter the job market,” Long said. “I believe that access to the new equipment will help instill a sense of curiosity and life-long learning in our students.”


Funding from the CHS Foundation will be used in the development of new laboratories for AST students, department-wide technology and equipment upgrades, and further incorporating multidisciplinary experiences into BAE courses.


“The main thrust of each programmatic area is the implementation of hands-on learning and real-world experiences to augment the principles studied in the classroom,” Long said. “Placing a renewed focus on multidisciplinary studies will give students unique opportunities to develop the soft skills needed when collaborating with coworkers, clients, vendors and contractors from different backgrounds and disciplines.”


Long said the agricultural industry is in need of workers with hands-on experience in state-of-the-art technologies. He believes that these new programs and initiatives will provide those to graduates.


“Receiving this grant means our students can now be pushed to innovate new strategies and technologies as they progress in their studies and conduct independent course projects,” Long said.

Story by: Hunter Gibson

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