New agriculture program at Ivy Tech to help local community thanks to WHIN

A new program is making its way to Ivy Tech Lafayette.

Posted: Mar 18, 2020 11:53 PM
Updated: Mar 19, 2020 12:07 AM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- A new program is making its way to Ivy Tech Lafayette. It's one county leaders said is wanted and needed.

Wabash Heartland Innovation Network made it all possible due to an almost $900,000 impact grant.

The new program, the precision agriculture major, is hard to find anywhere else in the state, especially locally.

"The closest institution that does provide education in precision agriculture would be a fellow Ivy Tech campus in Terre Haute," said Andrea Schwartz.

Those campuses are nearly 100 miles away.

Ivy Tech Lafayette is offering a need for a high demand.

Schwartz said its ramped up within the last few years.

"We have really seen that increase in what students are asking for and demanding in classes and well as what their interest is," said Schwartz.

Schwartz is the dean of the school of advanced manufacturing, engineering and applied science at Ivy Tech Lafayette.

The students also have an interest to make a difference in their local community.

"Both in a technology perspective and from a data science perspective," said Pat Corey.

Corey is the interim vice president of engagement at WHIN. 

Students also want to make a big return on an investment.

"That's one of the great things about community college," said the vice chancellor of academic affairs at Ivy Tech Lafayette, Todd Roswarski.

The average cost of Ivy Tech is $8,000 and the average salary of someone with a degree in precision agriculture is $50,000.

"We are very excited about this," said Roswarski. "We think within a few years we will probably have 50 additional students."

Students can thank WHIN and leaders from Montgomery county for this new program.

"For WHIN, this is doing a couple things: one it is getting more farmers using this technology," said Corey. "That's why this grant is important."

Corey said the $900,000 grant will end up being everlasting in the 10 counties the organization serves.

"The grant is going to be helping Ivy Tech develop some laboratory and faculty resources to create a workforce that is able to help the farmers in the area that are using this technology," said Corey.

Roswarski said there will be many internship opportunities within the program.

When Ivy Tech students receive their degree it will be an associate degree in applied science in precision agriculture.

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