Clark State Community College will receive $25,000 from the Community College Alliance for Agriculture Advancement (C2A3) grant for the development of soil health curriculum, supplementary materials and workshops for current students and producers. The grant will support the field days and demonstration efforts for the Soil Health Partnership Initiative with the National Corn Growers Association.
There were approximately 160 initial proposals with 28 invited for a full submission. Of those submissions, 16 were selected for funding, including Clark State.
“At Clark State we are still considering which land lab projects we will be conducting,” said Dr. Susan Everett, program coordinator and professor of agribusiness, horticulture and precision agriculture. “But they most likely will involve the use of cover crops and water runoff management.”
Everett said Clark State plans to incorporate the land lab in many of the agriculture classes, including precision agriculture, soil science, soil fertility, crop production, plant pests, integrated pest management and agricultural capstone courses. “Involving these courses should mean all of our students will be exposed to the land lab projects which would be approximately 50 or 60 students,” she said.
The five-acre agriculture land lab will be located on Clark State’s main campus in Springfield. Clark State received $4,812,895 from the Higher Education Improvement Fund of the Ohio State Capital Bill as passed by the House and Senate last spring; $200,000 was slated for the Precision Agriculture land laboratory.
The primary research focus for the land lab is soil health, water quality, cover crops, remote sensing and variable rate applications.
“These projects will align with the mission of our national partners including the National Corn Growers Association, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education,” said Dr. Lawrence Everett, Clark State professor and coordinator for precision agriculture and director of the Ohio Center for Precision Agriculture. “We are seeking additional partnerships from Ohio and local organizations as well as local producers.”
Clark State has developed the region’s only for-credit degree program in precision agriculture — one that provides students not only with classroom-based learning, but with hands-on technical training at the Airpark Ohio UAS test range, located at the Springfield Municipal Airport. This state-of-the-art lab and partnerships with local farmers and businesses provide real data in real time for real results — for real world experiences that bring precision agriculture to life.