Grand opening ceremonies for the new South Dakota State University Raven Precision Agriculture Center will take place on the SDSU campus in Brookings on Saturday, Sept. 11, at 2:00 p.m. 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 consist of speakers at 2:00 p.m. (including remarks from Raven President & CEO Dan Rykhus) and tours of the 122,694 sq. ft. facility at 2:30 p.m. Following the grand opening event, SDSU will host the Precision Agriculture Bowl football game vs. Lindenwood at 6:00 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,” says 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 2018, Raven announced it was awarding SDSU with a historic gift of $5 million for the establishment of this facility. The company's proactive investment in the future of agriculture is an extension of its purpose to Solve Great Challenges.
The Raven team is excited for this facility and program at SDSU to reach this tremendous milestone — and for students to begin learning, collaborating, and innovating within its walls. The landscape of farming and agriculture is changing, and the demand for precision ag technology and solutions is rapidly growing across the globe. We believe we have an obligation to lead the next revolution in agriculture, and that extends to educating the next generation, building a highly-trained workforce, and creating a strong future for the industry.— Dan Rykhus, President & CEO of Raven Industries
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 says. “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.”
In addition to Raven's donation, the $46.1 million Raven Precision Agriculture Center building project has been supported by South Dakota stakeholder groups, industry partners and legislative leaders.