INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, MINNESOTA, U.S. — The CHS Foundation, funded by charitable gifts from CHS Inc., is giving a $1.5 million grant to support the South Dakota State University (SDSU) precision agriculture program and construction of the new Raven Precision Agriculture Center on campus.
“The gift from the CHS Foundation is pivotal in allowing us to make our globally preeminent precision agriculture program a reality,” said John Killefer, the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council Endowed dean of the SDSU College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.
CHS said the gift aligns with priorities around ensuring that educating the next generation of ag leadership includes technology and tradition.
“The CHS Foundation is committed to supporting projects that cultivate opportunity for students interested in the agriculture industry,” said Nanci Lilja, president, CHS Foundation. “By supporting the precision ag program at SDSU, there will be more qualified graduates entering the agriculture industry.”
SDSU is the nation’s first land-grant university to offer a bachelor’s degree and minor in precision agriculture. The degree is a collaborative effort encompassing the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department and the Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science Department in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, as well as the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering.
SDSU’s precision agriculture degree will provide students with access to cutting-edge developments in the rapidly evolving intersection of agronomics, high-speed sensor technology, data management and advanced machinery development. Students will be prepared for lifelong careers that support economically and environmentally sustainable agriculture.
This facility will allow the state to lead the nation in precision agriculture research, teaching and innovation.
“The gift in support of the Raven Precision Agriculture Center will positively impact our students and industry for decades to come,” Killefer said. “This commitment from the CHS Foundation illustrates the leadership role and vision they have within the agricultural industry.”
The building has 129,000 square feet of floor space that will be able to house farm equipment and will provide collaborative learning spaces for student design projects. Flexible space will give scientists from a variety of departments and industry space to collaborate on research and education.
“Precision agriculture technology is ever-changing,” Lilja said. “It’s exciting to envision the impact students will have by developing new technologies through collaboration with their peers and industry leaders in this new environment.”
Final construction plans are in progress. Some ground work is expected to begin this fall, with construction starting in the spring of 2019.
Founded in 1881, South Dakota State University is the state’s Morrill Act land-grant institution as well as its largest, most comprehensive school of higher education. SDSU confers degrees from seven different colleges representing more than 200 majors, minors and specializations. The institution also offers 36 master’s degree programs, 15 Ph.D. and two professional programs.