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Published November 25, 2013, 10:03 AM

Learning more about precision ag

A North Dakota center offers seminars for ag producers.

By: Jonathan Knutson, Agweek

If you’re a farmer who wants to learn more about precision agriculture, the Dakota Precision Ag Center in Devils Lake, N.D., offers a special day of seminars.

If you’re a student who wants to make a career in precision ag, the Precision Ag Center offers a two-year program.

The center, connected with Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, is hosting three days of activities during the week of Dec. 2.

Two seminars on Dec. 4 will be of interest to farmers and others involved in production agriculture.

At 11 a.m. there will be a one-hour session on the use of precision ag in agronomy.

At 1 p.m. a one-hour session is planned on the value of remote sensing in crop production.

Both sessions will be led by center staff members.

“We’re hoping to get quite a bit of interest in those two seminars. We think we can draw from quite a wide region,” says Lisa Howard, the Center’s program coordinator.

Activities on Dec. 4 begin with a 10:30 tour. Lunch is provided between seminars, with tours offered again from 2 to 3 p.m.

Advance registration isn’t required, but visitors planning to eat lunch are asked to make reservations by calling 701-662-1498 or emailing lisa.howard@ lrsc.edu.

Student day

Prospective students at the center will be most interested in Dec. 6 activities. That day, current center students will give demonstrations on a wide range of tools and practices, including land survey tools, automated steering, combine yield monitoring and agricultural IT and networking.

“I hope we get quite a few schools to bring their students. It’s going to be a good day,” Howard says.

The activities are open to students interested in any aspect of agriculture, she says.

“They don’t have to be a farm kid or the kid who has to drive the tractors. You can be interested in being a salesman or anything related to the ag field,” she says.

Parents of prospective students also are welcome to visit the center on Dec. 6.

Currently, the center has 23 students, with space for 24 students in one section. Another section will be added in the next semester if demand warrants it, Howard says.

Most of the 23 students come from North Dakota, with the rest coming from Michigan, Wisconsin, Montana and Iowa.

Graduates of the two-year program will earn an associate of applied science in precision ag degree.

The center has one full-time instructor on staff, along with several adjunct instructors. Two more full-time instructors will join the center next semester.

Ribbon-cutting

The Precision Ag Center operates in a renovated building, at 5070 Highway 20, Devils Lake, that once housed a farm equipment dealership.

To celebrate its new quarters, the Precision Ag Center will hold a public ribbon-cutting and open house at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 3. Tours and question-and-answer sessions run from 1:30 to 4 p.m.

“People really aren’t aware yet that we’re here. We need to get the word out,” Howard says.

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