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PRAG Internship Archive

Andy Socha's 2017 Internship at Precision Planting

Andrew Socha (Corcoran, MN), a senior double-majoring in Precision Agriculture and Agronomy, says his internship at Precision Planting in Tremont, Illinois, equipped him with a wide breadth of skills and knowledge that could be applied broadly in the agricultural industry. Socha worked on the beta testing the SmartFirmer, Precision Planting’s patented optic light sensor system used to measure soil temperature, soil moisture, organic matter and furrow residue. “My responsibility was to go out to the farms where it was being tested, and scout their fields based on the maps created by the firmer.”

Andrew Socha in the Field

Rather than focusing on product-specific skill sets, Socha says he evaluated agronomics from a wider standpoint. As a member of Precision Planting’s research and development team, he studied seed germination and uniformity, as well as general fertilizer management. “I learned the agronomics behind the products we were developing and now have a greater understanding of the factors that influence [plant] stands.” Equipped with the tools to help agriculture companies and farmers better realize the benefits of precision farming, Socha hopes to show the farming community ways to be more productive and efficient. “The end goal is to feed more people with less land.”

Economically, he says famers can save money by utilizing precision technology by cutting back on unnecessary inputs. Environmentally, Socha stresses the importance of sustainability: “Using site-specific fertilizer placement and timing will help farmers understand when crops need it so there’s no over-applying.” Ultimately, Socha believes that precision agriculture can help bring the younger generation back to the farming community and help rejuvenate struggling rural towns. “There will be new jobs that require a new understanding of technologies for young people.”