Northland Community & Technical College Awarded Minnesota Department of Agriculture Grant

Northland Community & Technical College was awarded a grant under the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's Minnesota Crop Research Grant Program on Jan. 15, 2015. The grant awarded Northland nearly $250,000. The project titled, "Digital Imagery, Precision Agriculture"", will focus on utilizing NextGen technology and unmanned aerial systems to aid the 21st century grower in creating yield efficiencies and promoting "green" agricultural practices.

The project will work extensively with growers in northwest Minnesota. The goal of this project will be to gather the necessary digital information from agricultural sensors and build application maps for growers so that commercial application equipment can apply crop nutrients and crop protection products in a real-time, true prescription agricultural format.

The project will leverage the assistance of industry expert partners such as:

  • Titan Machinery / Case New Holland
  • Evergreen Implement / John Deere
  • Farm Intelligence
  • Sentera
  • University of Minnesota, Magnuson Research Farms
  • Minnesota Association Wheat Growers
  • Minnesota Turf Council
  • MSU Moorhead
  • AgCentric MnSCU Center of Excellence

Students from Northland are expected to benefit from the experience of working within the project. Northland Imagery Analysis and Geospatial Intelligence Analysis students will work to analyze and interpret the collected data. Students in Northland's Farm Business/Operations and Unmanned Aerial Systems programs will work with instructors to gain a hands-on understanding of how precision agriculture plays a crucial role in the future of their respective fields of study. Students at MSU Moorhead will provide expertise in satellite imagery through the direction of Earth Science faculty member Kirk Stueve.

Northland will utilize its Certificate of Authorization (CoA) from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) in Roseau County Minnesota to gather data from participating growers fields. Using sensors on the sUAS from project partners, the flights will collect data that can identify crop nutrient status, pest outbreaks, and soil and topography data. The Magnuson Research Farm’s 40-acre site will serve as a hub for sUAS activity within the project.

The Digital Imagery, Precision Agriculture research will occur over three years from 2015 to 2017.

Northland Community and Technical College (Northland) is a comprehensive college with campuses in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, and East Grand Forks, Minnesota. Northland also has an aerospace site in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, and a satellite site in Roseau, Minnesota. Northland offers certificates, diplomas, transfer courses, two-year degrees (A.A.S., A.S., A.A.) in more than 80 areas of study, workforce training and education programs. Northland is a member of Minnesota State, the third-largest system of two-year colleges and four-year universities in the United States, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. For more information about Northland Community & Technical College, visit or call 1.800.959.6282.

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