CHS Foundation Announces $1.5 Million Gift to Support SDSU Precision Agriculture Program

 

Photo from left to right: CAFES Dean John Killefer, CHS Board of Director Tracy Jones, CHS Board of Director Randy Knecht, CHS Foundation President Nanci Lilja, SDSU President Barry Dunn, Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering Dean Bruce Berdanier, CHS Board of Director Dave Kayser, and CHS Region Vice President Ed Mallett.

 

The CHS Foundation, funded by charitable gifts from CHS Inc., announced a $1.5 million grant to support the South Dakota State University (SDSU) precision agriculture program and construction of the new Raven Precision Agriculture Center on campus.

“The gift from the CHS Foundation is pivotal in allowing us to make our globally preeminent precision agriculture program a reality,” says John Killefer, the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council Endowed Dean of the SDSU College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.

The gift aligns with CHS priorities around ensuring that educating the next generation of ag leadership includes technology and tradition.

“The CHS Foundation is committed to supporting projects that cultivate opportunity for students interested in the agriculture industry,” says Nanci Lilja, president, CHS Foundation.  “By supporting the precision ag program at SDSU, there will be more qualified graduates entering the agriculture industry.”

SDSU is the nation’s first land-grant university to offer a bachelor’s degree and minor in precision agriculture. The degree is a collaborative effort encompassing the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department and the Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science Department in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, as well as the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering.

SDSU’s precision agriculture degree will provide students with access to cutting-edge developments in the rapidly evolving intersection of agronomics, high-speed sensor technology, data management and advanced machinery development. Students will be prepared for lifelong careers that support economically and environmentally sustainable agriculture.

This facility will allow the state to lead the nation in precision agriculture research, teaching and innovation.

“The gift in support of the Raven Precision Agriculture Center will positively impact our students and industry for decades to come,” says Killefer. “This commitment from the CHS Foundation illustrates the leadership role and vision they have within the agricultural industry.”

The building has 129,000 square feet of floor space that will be able to house modern precision farm equipment and will provide collaborative learning spaces for student design projects. Flexible space will give scientists from a variety of departments and industry space to collaborate on research and education.

“Precision agriculture technology is ever-changing,” says Lilja. “It’s exciting to envision the impact students will have by developing new technologies through collaboration with their peers and industry leaders in this new environment.”

Final construction plans are in-progress. Some ground work is expected to begin this fall, with construction starting in the spring of 2019.

About the CHS Foundation

The CHS Foundation, funded by charitable gifts from CHS Inc., is focused on developing a new generation of agriculture leaders for life-long success. Together, with our partners, we are igniting innovation and driving excellence in agriculture education, cultivating high-impact programs for rural youth and accelerating potential for careers in agriculture. Learn more at http://chsfoundation.org.

About South Dakota State University
Founded in 1881, South Dakota State University is the state’s Morrill Act land-grant institution as well as its largest, most comprehensive school of higher education. SDSU confers degrees from seven different colleges representing more than 200 majors, minors and specializations. The institution also offers 36 master’s degree programs, 15 Ph.D. and two professional programs.

The work of the university is carried out on a residential campus in Brookings, at sites in Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City, and through Extension offices and Agricultural Experiment Station research sites across the state.

 

 
 

 

 

 

Farming for Future Generations

Farming for future generations

by: Greg Lamp, Editor-in-Chief, CHS May 16, 2017

When members of the Cronin family — and it’s a big family — began paying more attention to the land under their care, they had no idea they would be recognized for their conservation efforts. In fact, they weren’t even aware of the prestigious Leopold Conservation Award until they received it last year.

“It was tremendous to get this award and a pat on the back for what we’ve been doing all along,” says Casey Cronin, who is charged with managing the operation’s 800 Angus cows.

“We just want to take care of our land and make it better for future generations,” adds Dan Forgey, farm manager.

The Leopold Conservation Award, inspired by conservationist Aldo Leopold, recognizes extraordinary achievements in voluntary conservation by private landowners.

Brothers Monty and Mike Cronin and their extended families share the honor with an impressive list of past winners. Their sons Casey, Corey and Tregg are poised to become the land’s next caretakers.

“We’ve been no-tilling for 23 years, but in 2006 we took a harder look at what we were doing and began working with cover crops,” says Forgey, who manages the operation’s 8,000 tillable and 8,000 grassland acres. “That’s when we started working our cattle into the crop side of the operation for a more holistic approach.”

Forgey says no-till management has been the number-one way they’ve been able to build resilience into their soils, especially to improve water-holding capacity.
“It takes years to build up soil to see results. You have to give it time,” says Mike Cronin.

The Cronins have seen higher yields and returns by diversifying crop rotation with corn, wheat, peas, lentils, flax and sunflowers.

For example, following pea harvest in July, they immediately plant cover crops, which keep moisture in the soil and offer high-quality grazing for cows and calves.

The Cronins work with CHS Northern Plains, and like the partnership they have developed.

“[The Cronins] always take a sustainable approach to agriculture, farming today for tomorrow,” says John Muske, agronomy department manager at CHS Northern Plains, Gettysburg, S.D. “They also help those outside the industry to understand ag.”

Tips for helping cattle deal with heat stress

It is going to get really hot next week, so I thought I would send out a reminder and some tips for helping cattle deal with heat stress.

 

  • Put some more water stations in the pen if possible. A stock tank put over the fence and filled with water several times a day will help the cattle stay hydrated when all are trying to drink at once. I have one producer who uses stock tanks with round bale feeders bolted inside to keep the cattle from climbing into the tanks.

 

  • If you sprinkle, make sure to do enough to get the cattle wet. A light misting will only raise the humidity in the pen and make the situation much worse.

 

  • Make a wet area in the pen where the cattle can go to dissipate heat and lay down, with either the water truck or sprinklers.

 

  • Using a thin layer of bedding (straw or stalks) helps cool the pen surface temperature so the cattle can dissipate heat. The pen surface can get several degrees hotter than the ambient temperature.

 

  • HydroLac, which is basically ‘Gatorade in a pellet’, has been shown to reduce heat stress in feedlot and dairy cattle and helps them stay on feed. Use it at 0.25# per head per day during the heat event. Of course, a 50 lb bag will treat 200 head.

 

  • Fat, black-hided cattle are much more susceptible to dying from heat stress than other cattle, so if you are forced to use limited resources to help the feedlot get through this, focus on these animals first.

 

Most importantly, be proactive! If the cattle get to heatstroke stage, their organs start shutting down and nothing can save them.

© 2019 CHS Inc.