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Highland Community College Precision Ag Program Starting Strong

published September 20, 2019Highland Community College Precision Ag Program Starting Strong

Everywhere you look in Northeast Kansas you can see the immense changes of crops senescing for the growing season. Fall also brings yet another season for agriculture producers and students.


The agriculture and precision agriculture programs on the Highland Community College Highland campus are following suit. The 2019-2020 academic school year began on Monday, August 19 and with it a solid program enrollment and a newly renovated space. With a mixture of full-time, part-time and high school concurrent students these future ag professionals form a solid start for the programs.


Precision Agriculture, the newest program on the Highland campus, prepares students for the future of agriculture production. Starting with a study of the basic principles of Geographic Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) they will learn how the systems, along with emerging technologies, are applied to the site-specific management of production agricultural resources, as a producer, advisor, or technician in the field. Students will get hands-on experience in soil sampling, GIS & GPS technology, computer-based application, variable rate technology and the use of drone technology.


Opportunities are provided for precision agriculture students to not only learn about those new technologies in production agriculture but also interact with and learn from industry professionals. Events like an invasive species workshop, mock interviews or participating in local 4-H and Future Farmers of America events give students practical experience.


“Getting out in the community and interacting with peers, producers and professionals in the agriculture industry give our students an edge. Forming these kinds of relationships early on, gaining skills in communication as well as practical knowledge gives our students a better start once they complete the program,” said Darcie Gallagher, Instructor of Precision Agriculture. 


Caleb Pilcher, Shawn Boos, and Kowen Kopp. They are testing dry matter of sudangrass cover crop.
Caleb Pilcher, Shawn Boos, and Kowen Kopp ​test dry matter of sudangrass cover crop.


Students began the year by settling into the newly renovated agriculture facility in Highland, learning introductory curriculum and starting work on academic projects. Students attend and participate in area ag-related events like the Loess Water Technology Farm Day in Troy, Kansas on September 10 as well as a trip to Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, Nebraska on September 11.


The HCC Foundation and agriculture faculty will host an Ag Appreciation event for donors and friends of the program on October 19 beginning at 10:30 a.m. at the newly renovated facility. Tours of the department, program discussions, ag presentations, live music, games, and lunch will precede the Saturday home football game versus Garden City Community College.

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