By Erin WoodFinishing touches are being made at the headquarters of Lake Region State College’s Precision Ag program.
The U. S. Department of Labor last fall awarded $2.99 million to Lake Region State College to develop training programs in precision agriculture. Starting this fall, the college will deliver a degree in precision agriculture and training for those already working in the industry. The program also targets to deliver training and assistance to Trade Adjustment Assistance-impacted workers, unemployed veterans, and other unemployed and underemployed people seeking to increase their skills for new and higher-paying jobs in the state of North Dakota.
Lake Region State College officials were excited to direct a program that targets North Dakota’s enduring industry. However, facing a severe space crunch, college officials struggled to find adequate facilities on campus to house the entire program needed. Students need not only classroom space, but hands-on-lab environment to work with the software and equipment used in precision ag technology.
The college found a solution with a partnership with local implement dealer and is leasing a building just 1.5 miles north of the campus, complete with a shop to hold equipment, space for two large classrooms, and a general purpose room. Students in the precision ag program will take core courses at this facility. Workforce training programs also will take place at this site and a traveling classroom also is being constructed to take the program on the road to employers and others needing the training outside the region.
The college’s farm business management program also relocated to the new facility so all LRSC agriculture-based programs are in the same area. Jay Olson and Craig Stromme will serve students from the Precision Ag Center.
An open house and ribbon cutting for the center will take place later this fall. For more information on LRSC’s Precision Ag program, call 662-1498.