NDSCS Unveils New Precision Agriculture Programs & CHS Foundation Grant

CHS logo
03-06-2024

North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) is proud to announce the expansion of its Agriculture department with the introduction of new AAS degrees in Precision Agronomy and Precision Agriculture Technician.

These programs are crafted to meet the growing demand for skilled professionals in the agricultural industry and to support the CHS Foundation mission of developing a new generation of ag leaders. CHS and the CHS Foundation recently awarded $96,000 to NDSCS to help reach these goals. That grant will help NDSCS purchase and implement a variety of GPS receivers and field displays; purchase and install John Deere AutoTrac and ActiveYield; and purchase and implement a planter row unit test table.

“The CHS partnership is invaluable to the Precision Agriculture Technician program at NDSCS. The high-tech equipment provided by this grant will provide innovative, real-world training. NDSCS students will now be even better prepared to take on the challenges ahead in their ag careers,” shared Craig Zimprich, Program Director at NDSCS Agriculture.

The new Precision Agriculture Technician program is meticulously designed to train students in the latest technological advances in agriculture equipment. It prepares students for careers where they will sell, troubleshoot, and repair precision equipment, a critical need identified by major precision equipment dealers. The program offers extensive hands-on experience, including a paid internship and the opportunity to operate state-of-the-art machinery at the NDSCS Kosel Family Land Lab.

“Training in precision agriculture and experience with precision agriculture equipment are essential skills for today’s graduates,” says Megan Wolle, president, CHS Foundation. “Through this partnership, NDSCS students will be ready to tackle new precision ag challenges and pursue careers in the agriculture industry.”

NDSCS's commitment to diversity and inclusion is integral to its vision, fostering a respectful and supportive environment that celebrates individual differences and promotes cultural appreciation. Chandra Langseth, a program instructor on the CHS Dakota Plains Ag producer board, exemplifies this commitment, enhancing program development and workforce diversity in collaboration with CHS.

“We are fortunate to have Chandra lead our Precision Agriculture program. She is very talented and provides valuable insight coupled with practical knowledge for the students here at NDSCS,” shared Zimprich.

The college's innovative strategies include interdisciplinary teaching, leveraging expertise from NDSCS's diesel and manufacturing faculty to ensure that graduates possess comprehensive technical skills. The program's success is already anticipated, with the North Dakota Legislature allocating approximately $20 million for facility enhancements to advance precision agriculture education at NDSCS.

The program's SMART goals are ambitious and well-defined, focusing on equipping students with practical skills in data management, equipment calibration, and troubleshooting. The long-term impact is clear: NDSCS aims to be a national leader in precision agriculture training, providing students with the knowledge and practical experience needed for immediate career success.

NDSCS's strategic partnerships and collaborations with industry leaders, including CHS Foundation, ensure that the curriculum remains cutting-edge and relevant. The program is set to be sustainable, with funding strategies involving the reinvestment of proceeds from the NDSCS Kosel Family Agriculture Land Lab and ongoing support from industry partners.

The college plans to promote the program through various channels, including opportunities for high school students and active engagement with FFA organizations in North Dakota, Minnesota, and throughout our region.

Learn more at NDSCS.edu/Ag.

Leah Maertens

Leah Maertens

Agriculture
Farm Business Management Instructor
leah.maertens@ndscs.edu
Wahpeton
Tech Center 191
Wildcat Willie headshot

Sheldon Schmiess

Agriculture
Instructor
701-671-2273
sheldon.schmiess@ndscs.edu
Wahpeton
Tech Center 144
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