Raven donates $5M to SDSU for precision agriculture program

Jan. 9, 2018

Sioux Falls-based Raven Industries Inc. is donating $5 million to SDSU to establish the Precision Agriculture Facility within the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences on the school’s Brookings campus.

SDSU is the first land-grant university in the country to offer both a four-year degree and a minor in precision agriculture. The Precision Agriculture Facility is envisioned as the nexus for innovation and collaboration across several disciplines, including engineering, agronomy, horticulture, mathematics and the decision sciences.

“As a leader in precision agriculture, Raven recognizes this unique opportunity to partner with SDSU,” said Dan Rykhus, Raven’s president and CEO. “SDSU is leading the way in the development of the next generation of precision agriculture innovators with an enriching, multidisciplinary education and a robust learning experience. Raven and SDSU have enjoyed a long and positive relationship, and this facility will lead to further collaboration with faculty, staff and students on emerging technology in support of the growing need for precision agriculture practices and tools.”

Precision agriculture combines agronomic practices with farm machinery technology and actionable data. As the world population continues to increase, the demand for ag technology that promotes environmental stewardship — allowing farmers to grow more with less — is rising.

“Our investment in this partnership reflects our strong belief that the demand for precision ag technology and solutions is rapidly growing across the globe,” Rykhus said. “We believe it is our responsibility to help solve that great challenge.”

The gift will “help transform the state of South Dakota into a global leader within an expanding precision agriculture industry,” said SDSU president Barry Dunn. “The proposed facility will enhance innovation and the development of educational programs that will deliver applications to enable data-driven decisions in precision farming, ranching and conservation. It will promote the type of collaboration between faculty, students and industry experts that will change agriculture and make our region and world a better place. Together, Raven and South Dakota State University are working to build a strong future, and precision agriculture is that future.”

The gift is an investment in the current and future workforce of South Dakota, both leaders said. The goal is to allow the state to lead the nation in precision agriculture education, research and extension.

Supporters of the project will seek legislative authority during the 2018 session to start construction of the Precision Agriculture Facility. A construction time line will not be determined until legislative authority is granted.

Raven donates $5M to SDSU for precision agriculture program

Sioux Falls-based Raven Industries Inc. is donating $5 million to SDSU to establish the Precision Agriculture Facility within the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences on the school’s Brookings campus.

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