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The University of Illinois is offering a two-week precision ag course this summer for high schoolers. It’s free and it’s online.

Compiled by staff

March 17, 2021

2 Min Read
PRECISION: Interested in a two-week summer course on precision ag? High schoolers can apply by April 16. The course runs from July 26 to Aug. 6, and admission will be based on high school grades, essays and recommendation from a high school teacher.Courtesy of U of I College of ACES


Calling all high school students: You can get an early start on a career in precision agriculture. It’s a two-week course, it’s free, it’s from the University of Illinois, and it’s from home.

Starting in July, high school students ages 16 and up, plus incoming U of I freshmen, can enroll in a free two-week summer course to learn the fundamentals of precision agriculture. Organizers say while the course is online, it will include hands-on learning — and it will give students opportunities to work with real data to solve real problems.

“By the end of the course, students will have the basic skills for a little software development,” says Isabella Condotta, ag engineer and assistant professor in animal sciences in the University of Illinois College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). “So, we will be hosting a 24-hour ‘hackathon’ where they can develop innovative software solutions for a real-world crop or animal management issue,” she says. Condotta is leading the program along with Hamze Dokoohaki of the Department of Crop Sciences.

The program is funded by the CHS Foundation to the tune of $195,000, which will also fund a Precision Agriculture Club on campus and two new introductory precision ag courses.

“The ultimate goal is training a new generation of precision agriculture leaders for sustainable crop and animal production,” says Nanci Lilja, president, CHS Foundation. “By increasing students’ exposure early in their education, we hope they pursue a career in agriculture and precision agriculture-related fields.”

U of I debuts 2 new majors

The courses on campus are part of two new majors in ACES: Computer Science + Animal Sciences and Computer Science + Crop Sciences. One course will look at how precision tools and sensors increase efficiency and solve systemic problems in ag. Further down the sequence, students can take a course in precision management of animals. 

On the crop side, courses will look at crop production, statistical models, process-based modeling and remote sensing.

Student members of the new Precision Agriculture Club will host speakers and fundraising events, compete in precision ag contests against rival schools, discuss relevant scholarly articles, and learn digital ag platforms. They’ll also mentor participants in the two-week summer course.

Interested in the summer course? Apply by April 16. The course runs from July 26 to Aug. 6, and admission will be based on high school grades, essays and recommendation from a high school teacher. Look for details, application forms, topics and more at the Center for Digital Agriculture website.

Source: University of Illinois College of ACES, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.


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