Precision ag center grand opening set for Saturday

Courtesy photo: SDSU will host a grand opening and ribbon-cutting event for the Raven Precision Agriculture Center at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11.

BROOKINGS – Grand opening ceremonies for the new South Dakota State University Raven Precision Agriculture Center will take place on the SDSU campus at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11. 

The event will be held on the east side of the center located at the corner of Medary Avenue and North Campus Drive. The public ceremony will include speakers at 2 p.m. and tours of the 122,694-square-foot facility at 2:30 p.m. Following the grand opening event, SDSU will host the Precision Agriculture Bowl football game vs. Lindenwood at 6 p.m.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming our students and members of the public to celebrate the opening of this state-of-the-art facility. We appreciate the support of the many South Dakota stakeholders who helped to make this new hub of teaching, research and outreach possible,” said John Killefer, South Dakota Corn Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. “The learning and leading taking place in this new building will be happening in an innovation ecosystem supported by collaboration across several disciplines in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, and the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering.”

In 2016, SDSU became the first land-grant university in the country to offer both a bachelor’s degree and minor in precision agriculture. SDSU introduced a minor in precision agriculture in 2015. 

As of May 2021, 36 students have graduated with a degree in precision agriculture. Currently, 82 students are enrolled in the precision agriculture major, and 57 students have declared precision agriculture as a minor for the Fall 2021 semester. 

Additionally, the building hosts just under 500 students studying agricultural and biosystems engineering, agricultural systems technology, agronomy and agricultural science for hands-on laboratory and classroom experiences. 

“The precision agriculture degree keeps students at the cutting edge of the intersection of agronomics, high-speed sensor technology, data management and advanced machinery development,” Killefer said. “The new Raven Precision Agriculture Center features spaces to house modern precision farm equipment, 15 teaching labs, 12 research labs and 22 collaborative spaces. Scientists from a variety of departments and agricultural industry partners can collaborate in research, education and outreach activities. The ability to participate in experiential learning with both peers and industry mentors will prepare our students for lifelong careers that support economically and environmentally sustainable agriculture.”

The $46.1 million Raven Precision Agriculture Center building project has been supported by South Dakota stakeholder groups, industry partners and legislative leaders.

Tickets for South Dakota State’s Precision Agriculture Bowl, Dairy Drive and 2020 Hall of Fame football game can be purchased through the Jackrabbit Ticket Office by calling 605-688-5422 or visiting gojacks.com.

Learn more about the grand opening by visiting https://www.sdstate.edu/agriculture-food-environmental-sciences/raven-precision-agriculture-center-grand-opening-event.

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