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Title: A content review of precision agriculture courses in the United States and Canada

item SKOUBY, DANIELLE - University Of Missouri
item SCHUMACHER, LEON - University Of Missouri
item Yost, Matt
item Kitchen, Newell

Submitted to: International Conference on Precision Agriculture Abstracts & Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2016
Publication Date: 7/31/2016
Citation: Skouby, D.M., Schumacher, L., Yost, M.A., Kitchen, N.R. 2016. A content review of precision agriculture courses in the United States and Canada. In: International Conference on Precision Agriculture, July 31-August 4, 2016, St. Louis, Missouri. Available:

Interpretive Summary: Knowledge is needed about what content is used in Precision Agriculture higher education courses in North America. This knowledge will help enable standardization of core content and ensure that content matches the knowledge and skills required by precision agriculture practitioners. Therefore, a survey of precision agriculture course syllabi in the United States and Canada was conducted. Faculty from 24 universities and colleges submitted syllabi that represented a total of 43 courses. The content of these syllabi were searched for nearly 60 keywords and phrases about precision agriculture that were based on sections of a precision agriculture textbook developed by multiple institutions. The most frequent keywords included in syllabi were: GIS, Economics, Variable-rate technology, Remote Sensing, and Environment. The least frequent were: Data mining, Weed Management, Imagery, and On-farm research. Several keywords including: Yield monitor calibration, Crop sensing, Machine vision, and Topography were not in any syllabi. Although some of these keywords did not appear in syllabi, faculty of many courses confirmed that these were topics they taught. Therefore, syllabi likely do not accurately reflect the content taught in precision agriculture courses, and more rigorous surveying is needed. Thus, an online survey is being administered to precision agriculture faculty in the United States and Canada to better assess course content. The preliminary results of this assessment have improved awareness for precision agriculture instructors and practitioners about the need to understand and standardize core precision agriculture curriculum and training.

Technical Abstract: Knowledge of what precision agriculture (PA) content is currently taught in North America will help build a better understanding for what PA instructors should incorporate into their classes in the future. The University of Missouri partnered with several universities throughout the nation on a USDA challenge grant. Precision Agriculture faculty from 24 colleges/universities from United States and Canada shared their PA content by sharing their syllabi from 43 different courses. The syllabi were searched for key topic phrases that identified the PA subject matter that was taught. Our review of the content showed a growing need for a more standardized curriculum, emphasizing the need for a better connection between industry needs and university faculty.