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WHIN celebrates grant recipient

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WEST LAFAYETTE — Indiana West Advantage of Montgomery County, along with Ivy Tech Community College Lafayette, Bane-Welker Equipment, Co-Alliance and Indigo Ag have been awarded $38,292 for a planning grant through the WHIN Regional Cultivation Fund. A public awards ceremony was held Tuesday at Ivy Tech Community College Crawfordsville.

There is an ever-growing need for highly-skilled precision agriculture technicians and specialists that are workforce ready. While Ivy Tech currently offers an associate of applied science degree and technical certificates in agriculture, there is not a degree or certificate specifically focused on precision agriculture technology at the Lafayette campus. The goal of the project is to expand the current educational programs to include precision agriculture technology. 

Agriculture is one of the largest industries in the region, thus this industry also holds many of the employment opportunities for people living in the Wabash Heartland Region. In the industry today, digital technology and IoT are incorporated in all aspects of the businesses of farmers, seed and chemical retailers and equipment dealers. Most modern farm machinery is equipped with technology to make the farmer and the crop they are planting more efficient. The farmer also has access to hundreds of technology platforms all designed to help streamline some area of the business. With technology comes the need to have numerous highly-trained people that can not only work the technology, but also help the farmer implement it correctly. This is where the planning grant can come into play.

The main goal of the grant is to fully understand the unmet need of the companies in the region who are trying to hire workforce ready employees to work in digital agriculture. A comprehensive work study will be conducted with a representative sample of hiring companies in the region to fully understand the needs of today and what they anticipate them to be in the future. The answers from all people and companies included in the study will be anonymously aggregated to determine if there is a need for Ivy Tech to expand their education opportunities for digital agriculture at the Ivy Tech Lafayette Campus. 

For more information about WHIN, visit www.whin.org or email info@whin.org.

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