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Higher education

I recently had the opportunity to ride up to Morningside University to deliver a Hylio AG – 110 spray drone to the Ag Department. I thought I would write a blog and tell you how it went.

Let’s start with a little information on the Agricultural & Food Studies program at Morningside. In it’s 8th year as a program the Ag Department is a fairly new program to the 129 year old University in Sioux City. The program offers Majors in Agricultural and Food Studies, Agricultural Teaching Education and Applied Agricultural and Food Studies. And the option to minor in Agribusiness, Agricultural Communication, Agricultural Studies, Agronomy, Environmental Policy/Law and Food Safety.

We met with Dan Witten, a professor in the program, who explained how the program got started when a group of alumni secured funding to get it started and the importance of having such an opportunity for students to learn about agriculture, especially in Iowa, where agriculture plays such a vital role in our economy.

Starting a program from the ground up means getting as much technology as possible in front of students. And partnering with HTS Ag has meant getting access to that technology.

When Technology Advisor Kyle Fischer and I got to campus we met with Dan and his classroom full of students eager to get their hands on the spray drone. After some classroom discussion about Precision technology on the farm and a brief lunch break, which by the way, Morningside University has a fantastic food court, it was time for Lab and getting hands on with some drones.

It was a bit rainy with cloud cover, so were unable to put the Hylio up in the air, but in the gym the Ag students were able to fly some smaller drones from baseline to baseline, learning to control the takeoff, flight and landing of a sUAS. Kyle also brought a pair of Autel EVO II drones that he was able to impress the young scholars with the drone’s powerful camera, zooming in on the shirts of fellow students from across the gym making the wording legible from the distance. As well has showing them how the infrared camera can show you hot spots in the field or someone hiding in a road ditch. I think everyone agreed that the features of a drone are as useful as they are fun.

When the weather clears up, I expect that the students of the Morningside Ag Department will spend as much time as they are allowed figuring out how get the most of a spray drone. I am confident they will do just that. There are some sharp students in the program, ready to learn and bring that knowledge to the agricultural industry and help shape the future of Iowa farms.

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