Work will soon begin on the $46 million Raven Precision Agriculture Center on the South Dakota State University (SDSU) campus.

There was a ground-breaking ceremony Saturday afternoon (10/6) in Brookings. Ground work at the site is to begin this fall, with construction starting next spring.

SDSU offers both a bachelor's degree and a minor in precision agriculture. Dean John Killefer says the 129,000 square foot facility will foster innovation in agriculture, engineering, and food and environmental sciences.

State lawmakers approved the center earlier this year. Sioux Falls based Raven Industries donated $5 million for the project.

Raven was founded in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 1956 as a designer and manufacturer of high altitude research balloons for the American space program to help solve the great challenges related to space exploration. From that single product line, they grew into a successful and highly diversified technology company.

Raven has taken that technology into agriculture. From field computers to sprayer and planter controls, GPS guidance steering systems, and wireless technology, they provide precision agriculture products designed to reduce operating costs and improve yields.

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