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Raven Precision Agriculture Center serves as innovation ecosystem

students in classroom in raven precision agriculture center with a bobcat skid steer

After nearly three years of construction, the Raven Precision Agriculture Center opened its doors in August 2021, becoming SDSU’s innovation ecosystem to the next generation of agricultural producers.

The $46.2 million facility was supported by South Dakota stakeholder groups, industry partners and legislative leaders.

The center brought the agricultural and biosystems engineering department and the agronomy, horticulture and plant science department into one building to capitalize on SDSU's position as a leader in precision agriculture. Each was previously housed in separate buildings on campus and were the drivers behind South Dakota State becoming the first university in the country to host both a major and minor in the field.

The innovative environment allows for increased student-faculty interaction, industry networking opportunities, interdepartmental research collaboration and hands-on learning. Agriculture is experiencing a fast-paced evolution as technology continues to develop, creating greater opportunities for more sustainable farming and ranching practices.

The integration of computer technology with farming and ranching equipment, sensors, GPS navigation, satellite imagery and drone imagery is revolutionizing the industry, and enhanced collaboration and research with SDSU professors, programs and industry partners will drive farming and ranching into the future. The Raven Precision Agriculture Center is the home of that work and innovation, making it a premier facility on campus.

The building has more than 122,000 square feet and includes 15 teaching labs, six hands-on labs, 12 research labs, 22 collaborative spaces and more than 50 office spaces for graduate students. The center also features a 4,245-square-foot high-bay area with a 3-ton overhead crane that gives students real-world experience working on modern, full-size equipment and machinery. The bay area also includes dynamometer equipment to measure rear wheel and PTO horsepower at the same time.