Raven Industries announced today that it is awarding South Dakota State University a historic gift of $5 million for the establishment of its Precision Agriculture Facility within the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences on its main campus in Brookings, S.D.

SDState 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 will be 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,” stated Dan Rykhus, president and CEO of Raven Industries. “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 continued. “We believe it is our responsibility to help solve that great challenge.”

Raven's Lon Stroschein talks about his company's $5 million donation to South Dakota State University.
Raven’s Lon Stroschein ’99 talks about the importance of agriculture during Tuesday’s news conference.

“This generous gift by Raven will help transform the state of South Dakota into a global leader within an expanding precision agriculture industry,” SDState President Barry Dunn said. “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.”

This gift is an investment in the current and future workforce of South Dakota. Raven and SDState strongly believe that the state will be well-served by this partnership. Bringing this exceptional facility to South Dakota will allow the state to lead the nation in precision agriculture education, research and extension. From state and economic benefits to the development of a highly trained workforce, South Dakota is well-positioned to benefit from precision agriculture technology and adoption.

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

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