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Students learn in the field

By   Erin Wood

The best way to apply agriculture education is in the field.

Precision Ag students at Lake Region State College found that first-hand during this fall’s corn harvest.

Throughout the academic year, students learn soil science, crop and weed science, GPS and GIS technology, marketing, and different equipment operating systems.

All the classes came together when LRSC’s Precision Ag students participated in the harvest experience by harvesting corn and hauling it to the local merchandiser east of Devils Lake. 

“Many of our students, but not all, come with an ag background, and even those with an agricultural background have different experiences and operations,” said LRSC Precision Ag director Preston Sundeen. 

The students participated in a three day corn harvest experience east of Devils Lake. Thanks to the Severtson farm for access to the land, High Plains Equipment for donating the use of a tractor and grain cart. The Sundeen family donated use of the combine and semi-trailer. 

Landin Johnson, who comes from a family farm, but hadn’t experienced corn harvest, said it was great for the class to work on a hands-on project.

“Getting out of the classroom and literally in the field to see how everything works together gives a more global perspective on all that’s involved and opportunities in precision ag,” Johnson said. 

Freshmen students’ familiar with harvest operations operated equipment while students newer to harvest activities rode along and learned on the go, working closely with the technology in the cab, analyzing information. Sophomores helped mentor the freshmen students.

“Everyone in the program participated,” Sundeen said. “Our students are out there doing hands on – components – went through truck inspection before leaving to the grain terminal, and all other  aspects that go with a safe, successful harvest.”

Next year, LRSC ag students will have this same hands on-experience close to campus as they begin work on a 40-acre plot near the campus. 

Student Ryan Hoffner is used to harvest, but enjoyed the behind the scenes view at the grain terminal.

“I’m used to hauling grain, so it was interesting to see the whole process that takes place in the elevator terminal afterward,” Hoffner said.

Many students like Hoffner and Johnson plan to have a career in agriculture, whether it’s part of the family operation, working in agribusiness, research, or furthering his/her education. 

“There are so many options for students in this program from farming, ranching, consulting, working with agronomy centers, equipment suppliers, dealerships, and more. Students leave LRSC with a degree that prepares them to go in multiple different ag fields.” Sundeen said.

Students in LRSC’s Precision Ag program receive many introductions to the variety of internships and careers available to them through field trips, guest speakers, and fairs. 

Each December the program holds a career fair out at its location in the Dakota Precision Ag Center north of the LRSC campus. 

The Precision Ag Program will hold a career fair for employers and students Dec. 9th from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Dakota Precision Ag Center, 1.5 miles north of the LRSC Main Campus on Hwy 20. To attend or showcase at this fair, contact Mylee Kenner at 701.665-4610.