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Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Now Accepting Applications for 2018 Summer Scholars Program!

The Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE) is offering three exciting focus areas at the 2018 Summer Scholars Program. Talented and motivated high school students are immersed in one week of “college life” at South Dakota State University. Students explore academic and research experiences as well as enrichment and social programs designed to help prepare for the next step in their intellectual, personal and professional development.


Our department will guide student experiences focusing on:

  • Precision Agriculture
  • Water and the Environment
  • Bioprocessing Engineering (Agricultural Materials into Foods and Bioproducts)


We offer the first-in-the-nation bachelor’s degree in Precision Agriculture and have prepared an excellent week for students to explore the field. Instructors Nicholas Uilk and Douglas Prairie bring a wealth of firsthand industry and agricultural experience that will help students gain valuable insight on the topic. Our water and environment faculty members have been recognized for their excellence in research and teaching. Dr. Todd Trooien (who will lead most of the week’s water and environment activities) is a world-class professor who has been invited to speak internationally and was named 2016 Teacher of the Year in the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering at SDSU. Our bioprocessing engineering faculty members are leading the nation with research ranging from developing sensors to identify diseases within seconds to using plasma to drastically improve food safety.


Summer scholars are typically juniors and seniors, but sophomores and advanced freshmen are invited to apply. Applications and a $100 deposit (or the full amount, if desired) are due by June 1, 2018. The program runs July 9-13, 2018. For more information about specializations offered and details about registration, check out the Fishback Summer Scholars Program website.

Cutting-edge science to feed and fuel the future

The Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering focuses on preparing students to improve the world’s food chain and available natural resources.

Our department gives students and scientists the resources necessary to generate innovative ideas and build rewarding careers through teaching, research, and Extension efforts. The Department offers degrees in Ag & Biosystems Engineering (ABE), which prepares students to work with the development and design of systems that impact food sources, and in Ag Systems Technology (AST), which teaches students the practical application of new innovations in the agricultural market. We have also partnered with the Department of Agronomy, Horticulture, and Plant Science and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics to jointly offer the first in the nation Precision Agriculture (PRAG) major.

Cutting-edge research in our department spans topics that range from food safety and biodiesel fuel to biofilters and manure odor reduction. Accurate and up-to-date information for the public and industry is provided through our Extension outreach and includes information about irrigation, farm safety, and outdoor air quality, as well as rural handicap-accessible issues and other key topics in the realm of agriculture and biosystems.

ABE'S 2017 Quarter Scale Tractor Team Takes SECOND at Nationals!

Check out the news article at the bottom of the page for more information. Way to go, team!

2017 Quarter Scale Team
2017 Quarter Scale Tractor Team Takes 2nd Place at National Competition

Photo: Members of the SDSU Quarter-Scale Tractor Team claimed second place at the recent International Quarter-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition in Peoria, IL. Team members and advisors include, from left to right: Nate Wright, Ryan VanTassel, Tia Muller, Miranda LeBrun, Mitch Sandey, Alex Koepke, T.J. Harder, Chandler Jansen, Lucas Derdall, Joe Deboer, Caleb Dinse, Spencer Van Overbeke, Doug Prairie, Tate Ketelhut, Joe Darrington, and Brady Buck. Not pictured: advisory Aaron Franzen. (Photo courtesy of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers).




Cody Myers and Colin LeBrun

Senior design students Cody Myers (Columbus, NE), Colin LeBrun (Dell Rapids, SD), and Grant Bose (Slayton, MN) from the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering are working with POET, LLC to assist with the development of a new process which densifies the netwrap/twine waste stream produced at the POET-DSM LIBERTY plant. The new process will need to accommodate year-round operating conditions, accept widely varying material properties, and produce a material stream capable of being pneumatically conveyed to their solid fuel boiler system. Myers, LeBrun and Bose are helping to develop a less energy-intensive process which increases reliability and decreases cost associated with converting corn stover to biofuels.


Testing and Validation of Raven’s Direct Injection Pump System

Matt Fritzke and Chandler Jansen

Senior Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering students Matt Fritzke (Watertown, MN) and Chandler Jansen (Emery, SD) have partnered with Raven Industries to improve the performance and accuracy of Raven’s direct injection pump system. Raven Industries is based in Sioux Falls, SD, and manufactures precision agriculture and flow control technologies. Fritzke and Jansen will develop test procedures and corresponding test fixtures to measure actual flow produced by the injection pump under different operating scenarios. Their work will improve the accuracy of applying chemicals to fields to help reduce crop damage and improve chemical effectiveness.


Feedlot Design for a One-Thousand Head Cattle Operation

Christopher Waibel and Lindsay Wallace

Senior Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering students Christopher Waibel (Saint Augusta, MN) and Lindsay Wallace (Maple Plain, MN) are working with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) on a cattle feedlot design project. Waibel and Wallace will design a new feedlot area with a full containment system. The new feedlot will be designed to house 1,000 head and have expandability to 2,000 head. The feedlot and containment system must be designed within South Dakota Department Environment and Natural Resources (SD DENR) and NRCS criteria. Waibel and Wallace are gaining valuable experience from this real-life project and are getting first-hand exposure to alternative viewpoints, design concepts, designing to meet specific standards and regulations, and carefully considering the economics of design choices.