The Clark State Community College Precision Agriculture program has been named in the Top 10 programs by the editors of Precision Ag magazine.
“The editors of Precision Ag magazine nominated programs, then asked industry precision ag leaders and colleges with precision ag programs to vote on the best program,” explained Dr. Larry Everett, professor and coordinator, Precision Agriculture director, Ohio Center for Precision Agriculture.
Clark State ranked 7th nationally with National Science Program precision ag partners Parkland College (IL) ranking 2nd and Ellsworth Community College (IA) ranking 3rd.
Currently, there are more than 20 students enrolled in Clark State’s growing Precision Agriculture program.
“We received a $200, 000 grant from the State of Ohio to further develop the program,” said Everett. “We plan to purchase a tractor and precision planter among other items. The land laboratory will allow additional hands-on activities.”
Everett said the Clark State Precision Agriculture program is unique because it focuses on data management emphasizing production agriculture and the many horticulture applications.
Everett said every agriculture career is critically short of employees and the biggest benefit of the precision ag is allowing the collected data to allocate assets where they will be the most productive and not use assets where they will not.
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 the 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.
“It really is an honor to be included in this ranking, especially considering that our program is relatively new,” said Everett. “Many of the other programs were established 20 or more years ago. We have many great opportunities for future agriculturalists.”
The Precision Agriculture program option emphasizes preparation for agriculture service-industry occupations. Courses are offered in soil science, soil fertility, plant pests, precision agriculture, remote sensing, applied GIS for agriculture and data analysis. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for employment with companies using geospatial technologies, including geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS) applied to agricultural production or management activities, such as pest scouting, site-specific pesticide application, yield mapping or variable-rate irrigation.