One of the challenges facing the agricultural industry is a generational shift on farms as well as within farm equipment dealerships. To assist in those transitions from a technology standpoint, Lake Region State College, in Devils Lake, N.D., recently developed a Precision Ag Club (PAC) to go beyond education and leave an impact on the community through precision farming.
The PAC, the first organization of its kind for the college, held its first meeting on October 15 and drew 20 students. Since that first meeting, the club has met regularly to discuss the direction and goals of the club. Preston Sundeen, the PAC advisor, says, "We've had quite a few meetings in the last few weeks just brainstorming ideas. Our purpose is to be a part of the precision farming community, to do fundraising, but also to do volunteer work.
"As we've been making plans for the club, we've discussed some traditions we'd like to start, something the community can rely on that we're going to do every year."
Volunteer activities and the ways this club is incorporating agriculture into their involvement in the community are examples of what Sundeen says the club will be doing to promote precision farming advocacy in the community.
The Precision Ag Club (PAC) from Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, N.D.
The one thing I try to promote with our students is that precision farming is just today's farming," he says. "We're a precision farming club, but we are also an agriculture club. We want to incorporate the component of precision and the efficiencies. Having the right product at the right place at the right time in the right amount."
Not all of the club's members are students in the precision ag program. Sundeen says they wanted the club to be open to anybody, even students in another program who have ag experience and are interested in taking part in the club, although the club's officers are required to be precision ag students.
In the future, Sundeen says the he would like to try to incorporate more of the precision side of agriculture. He envisions members helping growers with precision farming software and components and maybe even renting a piece of precision technology to a farmer for a day.
However, Sundeen says they want to keep their relationship with the local businesses that are already doing precision work intact, so the extent they will be working with individual growers hasn't been decided yet.
The club also plans to work with precision farming dealers in the future. Sundeen says the college already collaborates with many dealers who assist with developing the precision ag program.
"Our program has tremendous support from local equipment dealers, red, green and yellow. We also receive unbelievable support from software companies," says Sundeen. "We hope to use the club to provide a service back to these businesses that have donated equipment, software and knowledge to carry on the relationships we currently have and branch out from the local level businesses to more national level."
Farm equipment dealers who are brought into the college as speakers also will be introduced to the club.
"We will absolutely make contact between the club and dealers," Sundeen says. The members of the club want to create strong relationships with ag entities that will be mutually beneficial for both the dealers and the club.
"We hope they can help our club and we will be able to promote their best product or service," Sundeen says.