TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Sure, you could go to college to be a doctor, or a lawyer, but some students at Ivy Tech can now go for Precision Agriculture.
It’s a rapidly growing field, taking an industry that used to be a lot of guess work and “gut feelings” and adding new perspectives and solid data.
What better way to learn than to take the classroom outside and getting hands-on?
Jessica Griese is a Sophomore at Ivy Tech in Terre Haute.
That’s where a Precision Agriculture Program just started this year.
The goal? To prepare students for the future of the Agriculture Industry.
Griese says, “I put in the path of the field and it just flew around on its own. Didn’t really have to do much, it just did its own thing.”
Freshman Michael Fischer says, “It’s the way the world is going. There’s so much that you can do with technology that’s out there now. As far as taking pictures of your crop.”
The list of applications for drones is long.
According to Darin Kohlmeyer, Chair of Precision Agriculture at Ivy Tech, it’s an industry more students should consider.
Kohlmeyer says, “That seems to be one of the shortages in the industry. There’s not a lot of people with the knowledge to go out to work in this industry.”
Jim Love, the Light Robotics Manager of Beck’s Hybrids, came to speak to the class.
He says the unmanned aerial vehicle industry is worth $500 billion, with 600,000 jobs.
He estimates that starting out, a licensed drone operator could make $40,000-$50,000 a year.
Fischer says he drivers more than an hour to get to Ivy Tech to take the Precision Agriculture courses.
He says he is glad to know his time is being put to good use.
Fischer says, “It’s really, really nice to know that what you’re going for is going to pay off. Because there’s so many degrees out there now, you spend four years on, and you won’t make it back until twenty years later. You’re only going to pay off your school. Where this program is relatively cost-effective and making that money is very, very nice.”
Love says it’s only a matter of time before drone usage isn’t the brand new thing.
But for now, this technology will stay on top.
Griese says, “Just thinking about it is hard to believe that we’re in this time right now where all of this technology is just totally taking off.”
Love says while some may find the new FAA rules on drones restricting, he says he thinks it will open the doors for new operators.
He says things will only get easier once everyone is regulated and on the same page.