Purdue University is targeting the next generation of growers with a new online Precision Agriculture course.
The online course will be available at no charge for high school agriculture teachers, starting with teachers in Indiana and then expanding to schools around the U.S.
The course will be a revamped version of Purdue’s other online precision ag courses, made possible by a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The project is expected to take three years.
Upon completion, the course will feature a series of modules with resources to improve knowledge of precision agriculture and its applications, including curriculum that can be integrated into classrooms and labs.
The goal of offering the online course to teachers for free is to help prepare students to go into the increasingly information-technology centric field of agriculture.
Bruce Erickson, the head of Purdue’s Agronomy e-Learning Academy, said he wants to attract young, bright minds to agriculture and show them that it’s a viable and meaningful career.
“A lot of students may have a different viewpoint of agriculture than we do. They may think of it as low pay and long hours and not very exciting, but we want to show them this whole other side of agriculture that is a lot of technology and a lot of thinking and exciting things and we’re feeding the world and all of that and helping the environment, and that’s the type of thing that we think will attract tomorrow’s workers that we have in agriculture.”
Erickson said the data lifecycle will be an important part of the new course.
Curriculum will explore everything from sensors to wrangling data from different types of sensors to analyzing the data to get meaningful information.
Purdue currently offers four precision-agriculture courses for ag professionals through its Agronomy e-Learning Academy for a fee.