Ivy Tech Students Learn About Harvest, Fertilizer Research by Working with Helena Agri-Enterprises

Students in Ivy Tech Community College’s Agriculture and Precision Agriculture programs have had an interesting opportunity this growing season to learn at “The Field of Knowledge” sponsored by Helena Agri-Enterprises LLC.

On Wednesday (Oct. 3), the 22 acre plot of seed corn that has been a test site for Helena’s products, was harvested. Yield data is being recorded – some the old fashioned way by weight of the grain harvested; and some through precision yield monitor technologies the students are learning which measures the grain as it is harvested, capturing the data digitally.

“Collaboration with companies like Helena and Bane Welker provides our students so many opportunities to learn and to work with professionals in Precision Technologies that they wouldn’t get anywhere else,” said Darin Kohlmeyer, Precision Agriculture Equipment Technology program chair. Ivy Tech’s research plot with Helena is one of just four locations Helena has this project.

Katie Carnahan, Gro-Link Technician with Helena Agri-Enterprises, said the fertilizer research plot serves several purposes. “It is a great training ground for students. They can gain hands on experience with combines, tractors, grain carts and learn about field management practices. We also will share the data with them in January, so they can learn what we learned.”

She said for the company it is a place where it can put trials together and collect the data. “It is awesome that we have the students here to manage it and learn about the testing we are doing.”

An example of a kind of data gathered she said, is a product that was typically applied with a sprayer. “We trialed using it as a starter fertilizer instead.” She said that information will be given to customers so that they can make better decisions on their acres.

Finally, the Field of Knowledge is also a place for the company to host customers so that they can better understand Helena’s products. Customers would include retail staff at local business and their customers, as well as Ivy Tech’s students.

She pointed out the importance of getting the most yield for the money to feed more in the world.  “There is a decreasing amount of tillable acres available each year, but ever increasing populations to feed. So plots like this, and the education of tomorrow’s farmers and farm-related employers and employees – will help to make sure products and techniques used have the biggest return on investment per acre.”

Carnahan said that using precision technologies is an important tool to make a big impact on farmer profit. “Our goal is to align economic input with agronomic input. Helena really strives to promote precision technologies. It makes sense to precisely grow. The planter can place the seed correctly, and with a yield monitor, data can be analyzed acre by acre.”

Ivy Tech’s students are now using the new Precision Agriculture Equipment Technology Center of Excellence lab, which was opened for classes this fall. The Ivy Tech Foundation is now beginning the final countdown for the “Final Forty” gifts to the campaign for the renovation of the lab space. To give to this campaign, go to impact.ivytech.edu/finalforty.

Ivy Tech Students Learn About Harvest, Fertilizer Research by Working with Helena Agri-Enterprises

Nearly 700 High School Students Compete in Cob and Cog Competition

Nearly 700 students from 20 different high schools competed Friday in the First Cob and Cog Competition at Ivy Tech Community College Terre Haute. The competition combined hands-on contests in 21 different challenges that combined skills in agriculture and engineering/technology as well as working as a team and communication skills. Winners include:

Clay City High School
First Place Quiz Bowl: Aaron Buell, Bryce Linton, Brent Whitesell, Kara Rendant
First Place Soils:  Kaity Hofmann, Morgan Chase Fidler
First Place Let the Volts be With You: Jenna Ream, Clayton Stone, Anna Ziegler
First Place IT Work Station: Nathaniel Walden, Kaleb Brown
First Place GPS Mapping: Ally Murphy, Tori Gard, John Youngblood, Logan Payne
Second Place Livestock Judging: Baylee Fiddler, Demi Wolfe, Emily Hyatt, Alischa Ledger
Second Place Engineering Nightmare: Nathan Owens, Blake Patterson, Chandler Albright, Ethan Rogers

Northview High School
First Place Balancing Act: Ashton Grigsby, Gavin Wallon, Derek Hoke, Trey Tucker
Second Place Robotics:  Olivia Williams, Chandler Nuckors
Second Place Machinery Inspection: Nate Rissler, Gage Brown, Gage Youngblood, Brody Parent
Second Place Build Them and Crush Them: Felicity Nuchols, Emily Shea Traverse, Brooklee Bussing, Violet Keith
Second Place Drones: Jordan Hardey, Landon Croy, Zeb Allen, Braedyn Mormon
Second Place Chain Reaction: Tyler Hess, Levi Grein, Devin Moore

White River Valley
First Place Build Them and Crush Them: Tyler Moore, Andrew Bryant, Jaden Wadhwan
Second Place Soils: Tanner Denham, Mason Stoner, Ryan Hamm
Second Place Power Tool Drag Race: Clayton Hoover, Joe Records, Zach LeVay, Trey Carpenter
Second Place Welding: Dalton York, Braiden Haton, Brady Burks, Austin Shadoin

Chrisman High School, Illinois

First Place Matter in Motion: John Phipps, Owen Shelato
Second Place Travel Time: Alexis McDaniels, Kendl Lemmon
Second Place Food Science: Kendall Tevebaugh, Kailey Phipps, Maecy Johnson, Haley Chaney

Riverton Parke High School
First Place Livestock: Maddie Daley, Emilee Hartzler, Ray Brown
Second Place Matter in Motion: Cody Roush, Addie Moeller, Logan Harrison, Robin Mathas
Second Place Balancing Act: TJ Rutan, Britany App, Mackenzie Scherman

Terre Haute North
First Place Robotics: Aubree Bridgewater, Thor Brandt, Joel Rodriguez
First Place Biotech: Allie Pierce, Alicia Allen
First Place Welding: Daniel Daily, Will Edington, Garrett Wrightsman, Evan Adams

Sullivan High School
First Place Chain Reaction: RJ Bowen, Alexis Moore
Second Place Let the Volts be With You: Zach Lyttle, Brody Kent, Larrry Andritsch
Second Place IT Workstation: Jarad Verst, Joseph Tammert

Linton Stockton High School
First Place Puff Machine:  Morgan Green, Ashtynn Powell, Mallorey Frye
First Place Archimedes’ Principle: Alex Anderson, Ana Pearson, Karter Cox, Skyler Cox

Greencastle High School
First Place Engineering Nightmare: Trace Thomas, Jacob Fox
Second Place Puff Mobile: Caleb Coy and Gavin Hoopingardner 

Cloverdale High School
First Place Food Science: Joeli Hamilton, Emily Byford, Sarah Baker, Alexis Bennett
Second Place Biotech: Phoebe McDonald, Lily Monnett, Nate Monnett, Sadie Priest

Park Heritage High School
First Place Travel Time:  Connor Wilson, Bethany Wilson

Dugger High School
Second Place Archimedes’ Principle: Jasmine Hall, Jaci Hubbard, Madonna Szabo

South Putnam High School
First Place Power Tool Drag Race: Darnell Bennett, Parker Hacker
Second Place Quiz Bowl: Bree Mahoney-Sutherland, Brooke Robertson, Taylor Montgomery

South Vermillion High School
First Place Drones:  Conner VanLannen, Kaden Gilbertson, Cam Meyer, Blake Kalber

Terre Haute South Vigo High School
First Place Machinery Inspection: Henry Shepherd, Parker Akers

 Shakamak High School  –
Second Place GPS Mapping: Braden Keller, Jona Lash

Nearly 700 High School Students Compete in Cob and Cog Competition

Ivy Tech Gets First Gift of Grain

The Fall Harvest in Farmersburg, IN has kicked off with L.G. Hunt Farms, Inc. making the first gift of grain to Ivy Tech Community College Terre Haute Foundation’s newest initiative.

Bobbi Hunt-Kincaid, representative of the family farm, told those gathered today (9-18-18) that it was a “no brainer” for her family to contribute in support of agriculture education at Ivy Tech. She explained that hers is a decade’s long farm family, and as a way to support the community – this was a perfect fit for them. She also said her mother, Mollie, earned a business degree from Ivy Tech many years ago. “It’s easy to do. We just decide how many bushels we want to contribute, fill out the paperwork at the elevator, and it is taken care of.”

Proceeds from this donation will go toward the capital campaign raising money for Ivy Tech Terre Haute’s newest program, Precision Agriculture Equipment Technology.

Through the Gift of Grain, farmers can seamlessly donate grain from this year’s harvest or prior years’ harvests to Ivy Tech. After the grain is delivered to an elevator and the amount of grain is determined, an Ivy Tech donation form is filled out. The elevator will sell the grain and the proceeds will be donated to the college in support of its Precision Agriculture Equipment Technology program.

A Gift of Grain provides benefits that a standard cash donation cannot, such as reduced income taxes. Costs and expenses incurred in growing the donated crop are still claimable.

This new hands-on learning opportunity at Ivy Tech provides students many opportunities to learn outside, as well as in the newly renovated 26,000 square foot Center of Excellence.

Most recently students in the program took to the sweet corn field on Davis Drive to harvest corn for donation to area food pantries and Catholic Charities. These types of experiences help to prepare students for real-world agriculture careers – whether as farmers, or in related fields such as equipment sales, marketing, and consulting. As an affordable option for students, Ivy Tech graduates can enter directly into the agriculture workforce in high-demand, competitive paying careers or they may transfer to many of the college’s four-year partners for further education at a significant cost savings.

“Ivy Tech students tend to stay and work in their home communities. A Gift of Grain supports Ivy Tech students, and is an investment in a strong community and the future of the agriculture industry in the Wabash Valley,” said Rachel Mullinnix, executive director of Resource Development.

For further details, contact Mullinnix, executive director of Resource Development at 812-298-2410.

Ivy Tech Gets First Gift of Grain

Ivy Tech Terre Haute Opens New Center of Excellence for Precision Ag

Students interested in careers in precision agriculture equipment technology or diesel technology now have the opportunity to pursue certificates, technical certificates or associate of applied science degrees at the  Ivy Tech Community College Terre Haute Campus.

The facility celebrated its opening and ribbon cutting today (Aug. 8). The Center of Excellence for Ivy Tech’s Precision Agriculture Equipment Technology program includes a 26,000 sq. ft. laboratory space housing a wide variety of agricultural equipment like tractors, combines, planters, spreaders, and drones, all incorporated with precision technologies for hands-on education for students. It also includes Diesel Technology equipment and training, and lecture and computer lab space for both programs.

Lea Anne Crooks, chancellor of Ivy Tech Terre Haute, said excitement for the programs and the new facility is high at Ivy Tech. Students from throughout the area, and even well beyond have shown interest, she said, adding that the Center of Excellence would not have been a reality had it not been for the many who have provided funding. “Thank you to those who have made this happen like our top donors which include the Economic Development Administration (EDA), Vigo County Redevelopment Commission, Bane Welker Equipment LLC, the United States Department of Agriculture, Waltrin Truck Repair, and the Harlan Family.”

Sue Ellspermann, president of Ivy Tech Community College, said she is aware of many of the advances in precision agriculture, from her time as secretary of agriculture and rural affairs overseeing the State Department of Agriculture when she was Lieutenant Governor.

Ellspermann said she was pleased to announce the Terre Haute campus as the Center of Excellence for Precision Agriculture Equipment Technology in Indiana. “This Center will immediately meet the workforce development needs of not only the Terre Haute service area and the entire state – but also the entire region.” She added that there are only five sub-baccalaureate programs in the nation, and Ivy Tech’s Precision Agriculture Equipment Technology Center of Excellence is one of them.

Senator Joe Donnelly, current member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said this program and new lab space is going to be the start of “so many great jobs for years to come.

“I was proud to be able to help kick start this with support during the EDA grant application. Now the beneficiaries (of the funding) will be the workforce,” he indicated.

“This is the future, and this is also the present. You’ve hit a grand slam on this one.”

Dennis Feldenaur with the EDA, said he believes the EDA is moving in the right direction now with how to resource economic development. “They are looking at ‘how do we get regional, local, and state governments to work together?’” Feldenaur said the $1.2 million matching grant Ivy Tech received was part of this initiative. “Here in Central Indiana we see a lot of agriculture needing to look to the future to be more competitive,” he said. He pointed out that precision technologies at Ivy Tech are a way to “capitalize on this growth and be a focal point to make a competitive workforce, and the EDA is here to support these kinds of projects.”

Renovation of this warehouse space in the rear of Ivy Tech’s Technical Learning Achievement Building, located in the Industrial Park at 1650 E. Industrial Drive, began in late January 2018.

According to David Will, dean of the School of Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering & Applied Science, at the Center of Excellence, students can earn one or more of the following stackable degrees:

Technical Certificates

Agriculture Equipment Service Technician
(34 credit hours = 3 semesters)

Precision Agriculture Specialist
(34 credit hours = 3 semesters)

Precision Agriculture Technician
(34 credit hours = 3 semesters)

Associate of Applied Science
(60 credit hours = 5 semesters)

Ellspermann said these technical certificates and Associate of Applied Science degrees uniquely prepare students for career fields currently in high demand with over 3000 job openings predicted annually through 2020. She added that Terre Haute is a great location in Indiana to have this Center of Excellence, as it is in the middle of the Corn Belt, and near major transportation systems.

The need for new agriculture training is great. Indiana is seeing an increase in the average age of its farm workers from 49 in 1950 to now approaching the age of 60. U.S. Department of Agriculture data indicates that farm output over roughly that same period of time increased 2.7 times.

The aging workforce forecasts the need for an influx of workers to take over both traditional and emerging roles in the sector. Research has also show the need to individuals to repair this precision equipment; and for those in retail to have the knowledge for sales and consulting, Will said.

“Precision Ag takes advantage of the available technology,” Will said. “One example is a farmer using technology to identify the bests fertility treatment and planting depth for each soil type, then applying that knowledge using variable rate planting and spraying equipment and techniques to maximize the yield.”

He said the industry needs both farmers and those in agricultural careers in consulting, sales, and service. Will said that the impact of this new facility and the growth of the Precision Ag program at Ivy tech will mean workforce development for the Wabash Valley.

He identified numerous partners in this process including Randy Pigg from Pigg Implement in Sullivan, who was at the forefront of sharing the future of agriculture and the skills required in his organization with Ivy Tech administrators and faculty many years ago.  “That same message was reinforced with every interaction with industry,” Will said. “Phil Bane and the folks at Bane-Welker Equipment worked with us on their original ‘Red Program’ which was foundational curriculum for our Ag Technician program.

An industry survey went out to more than 360 businesses in Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois. The overwhelming response provided the momentum to continue toward the precision agriculture education, “because 86% of the respondents indicated they would hire an additional 3-4 precision ag technicians within the next five years.”

Steve Witt, president of the Terre Haute Economic Development Corporation which helped to fund much of the Diesel Technology equipment, echoed Will’s thoughts regarding the need. “It has been fascinating to watch how technology has progressed over the years both in precision ag and diesel technology,” he said.

Will said that many similar systems are shared between Precision Ag and Diesel Technology – and the facility has the large overhead doors and open spaces needed for students to do the hands-on work on Heavy Duty trucks.

Degrees and credentials offered in Diesel Technology include:


Advanced Diesel Electronics Controls
(18 credit hours = 2 semesters)

Truck Chassis Systems
(18 credit hours = 2 semesters)

Technical Certificates

Diesel Heavy Truck Technology Technical Certificate
(34 credit hours = 2-3 semesters)

Associate of Applied Science
(60 credit hours = 5 semesters)

“Acquiring the resources to fund such a unique program and facility was and continues to be vitally important,” Will said.  “Acquiring representation through the Economic Development Administration was critical in making today a reality. This EDA grant is the first of its kind to Ivy Tech.

“This project collaborated with local industry, the Federal Government, support from local and state government agencies, and post-secondary education to provide academic programming required to support industry demand and provide Hoosier’s a career path to raise a family and stay in their communities.  This project truly exemplifies putting community back in Community College.”

For additional information about the programs, go to www.ivytech.edu/precision-agriculture and www.ivytech.edu/diesel-tech

To learn more about giving to Ivy Tech’s Foundation in support of this initiative, go to 812-298-2410

Ivy Tech Terre Haute Opens New Center of Excellence for Precision Ag

Ivy Tech Shows Off Renovations in Progress for Precision Ag and Diesel Labs

The words and phrases, “wow,” and “It’s so bright,” and “this is huge!” could be heard exclaimed on April 11 as members of the public, business leaders, local farmers, and current and prospective students to Ivy Tech Community College, had a chance to see the renovation work taking place on Ivy Tech’s newest laboratory space.

Nearly 100 individuals toured the new Precision Agriculture and Heavy Duty Diesel Equipment Technology Laboratory now being renovated in the rear of the former Doughmaker’s Building (now Ivy Tech’s TechLAB), located in the south Industrial Park in Terre Haute.

The facility, owned by Ivy Tech, has its nursing program located in the front half of the building – and the rear of the facility is a 26,000 square foot former warehouse, which by fall will be the new lab space for all of Ivy Tech’s Precision Ag and Diesel students.

“I was really quite impressed with what I saw,” said Mars Harlan local farmer and owner of Burch Harlan Farms in Prairietown. “All of this equipment is getting more and more complicated. We need people who are qualified and have the skills to work on them. I can’t wait to see the finished product.”

Construction began in the TechLAB on January 24, 2018.  C.H Garmong and Son Inc. is the general contractor.  Their goal is the complete the project by June 11, 2018, for Ivy Tech to move in and begin operating classes Fall 2018. The 26,000 s20180411_111909q. ft. facility will use the latest technology in exhaust, equipment, and facilities infrastructure.

Lea Anne Crooks, Ivy Tech Terre Haute Chancellor, said that conversations about these programs have been a point of discussion since about 2006. In 2014, talks and illustrations of the need arose again. “Because Precision Agriculture is an emerging field, there was not a lot of data available, so Ivy Tech Community College Terre Haute Campus did research to discover where the needs exist,” Crooks said.

An industry survey was developed and sent to 362 implement dealers and contract service providers throughout Indiana and found large support for programs of this nature. Among the returns, 90% of the respondents currently employ 3 Precision Ag technicians per each of their sites; 87% expect to hire technicians over the next 3-5 years’ and 78% expressed interest in hosting Ivy Tech students as interns, said David Will, dean of the School of Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering, and Applied Science.

The Precision Agriculture Equipment Technology degree was approved in the spring of 2015. Will said the program is the first of its kind within the Ivy Tech system.  There are only 4-5 post-secondary universities throughout the country offering specific Precision Ag degrees.

 “The funding for the project is multi-faceted,” said Rachel Mullinnix, executive director for Resource Development at Ivy Tech.  Ivy Tech received a $1.2M grant from the Economic Development Administration in 2016 for the renovation that provides the facilities and equipment to provide the necessary education in Precision Agriculture.  “The EDA provided us with the funding to begin the renovation process but much is still needed to ensure that students will have the proper equipment,” she explained.

Anyone interested in seeing the facility and learning more about the programs should contact Mullinnix, at 812-298-2410 or email rmullinnix@ivytech.edu.

Ivy Tech Shows Off Renovations in Progress for Precision Ag and Diesel Labs

Ivy Tech Plans Precision Ag Open House April 11

What is next regarding farming in the Wabash Valley, will be a point of discussion and illustration at an open house at Ivy Tech Community College Terre Haute Campus on Wednesday, April 11, from 8 a.m. to noon.

The public is invited to this free Open House to explain the Precision Agriculture Equipment Technology and Heavy Duty Diesel Technology Programs and to showcase the renovation taking place at the Learning Achievement Building at 1650 E. Industrial Drive, Terre Haute.

“Ivy Tech gained approval to offer this program in 2015 from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education,” Chancellor Lea Anne Crooks said.  “Precision Agriculture Equipment Technology complements the agriculture, electronics, computer technology and diesel technology programs offered through Ivy Tech and we will be providing students with the skills needed to serve the needs of not only of the Wabash Valley, but also the emerging needs of this field throughout the nation.”

In April 2017, Ivy Tech received a $1.2 million grant from the Economic Development Administration to retrofit the building to be used for the program. And now, we are in the midst of a capital campaign to raise money for the equipment needs of the program, Crooks added.

The need for new agriculture training is great. Indiana has seen a large increase in the average age of its farm workers, and workforce forecasts show the need for an influx of workers to take over both traditional and emerging roles in the sector. Ivy Tech Terre Haute is committed to training this next generation of farm workers by teaching the skills necessary for a successful career.

Precision Agriculture is an approach to farm management that uses information technology to ensure that crops and soil receive exactly what they need for optimum health and productivity, ensuring profitability, sustainability and environmental protection.

Ivy Tech is offering three different Technical Certificates, as well as an Associate of Applied Science Degree. They include: Agriculture Equipment Service Technician (TC); Precision Agriculture Specialist (TC); Precision Agriculture Technician (TC); and an Associate of Applied Science degree.

Those attending the event on April 11 will get a sneak peek at the new lab space being developed for the Precision Ag and Heavy Truck Diesel Technology Programs, as well as see the program in action, tour classes, and hear about the new direction of the field.

RSVPs go to Kathy Cooper at 812-298-2450 or kcooper125@ivytech.edu


Ivy Tech Plans Precision Ag Open House April 11

5-Year Strategic Plan Launches

Ivy Tech Community College has kicked off its new five-year strategic plan: “Our Communities. Your College. Pathways for Student Success and a Stronger Indiana.” The plan’s vision is for Ivy Tech students to earn 50,000 high-quality certifications, certificates, and degrees per year aligned with workforce needs.

The plan aligns with Indiana’s goal to equip 60 percent of the workforce with a high-value, post-secondary degree or credential by 2025. Through achievement of this goal, the College will help increase Hoosier per capita income and support the transformation of the state’s advanced industries economy.

“Indiana is home to some of the world’s largest, most innovative corporations—not to mention countless ambitious smaller companies and start-ups,” said Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann. “And all of them share a common need: well-trained, skilled workers.”

The plan development covered 18 months, including a restructure of the College, comprehensive fact finding conducted internally and externally, including thousands of faculty, staff, students and statewide stakeholders.

“Our plan compliments the work of those with whom we collaborate including the Commission for Higher Education, Department of Workforce Development, the Indiana Chamber and industry groups, Strada Education Network, Lilly Endowment, and Lumina, to name a few,” Ellspermann said. “We are committed to aligning with those who have similar goals and are dedicated to Hoosier prosperity of employers, individuals, and the state.

The plan is comprised of seven goals, with detailed strategies and tactics accompanying each goal, and metrics to ensure success:

  • Goal 1 – Student Success: Ensure every student persists towards their educational objective.
  • Goal 2 – Recruitment and Enrollment: Recruit and enroll Hoosiers from every demographic into high-demand/high-wage career pathways.
  • Goal 3 – Completion: Students earn 50,000 high quality certificates, certifications, and degrees annually.
  • Goal 4 – Workforce: Students are placed into and succeed in high-demand, high-wage jobs.
  • Goal 5 – Employee: Become known as a great place to work.
  • Goal 6 – Financial: Ensure the institution has sufficient financial resources to achieve our mission.
  • Goal 7 – Community: Effectively engage with and serve our unique communities.

Strategies focused on student success include initiatives through improved technology, structured scheduling, eight week classes, and improved academic advising. Recruitment strategies include targeted outreach to adult workers, as well as high school students with no post-secondary plans. Completion strategies include reverse transfer, expanding the Associate Accelerated Program (ASAP), and more short-term, industry-focused certificates. Completion strategies are centered on “right-program, right-place, right-size” in each community and focused career development into high-demand, high-wage jobs.

“We are committed to putting more ‘community’ in community college,” Ellspermann continues. “To quote one of our own employees, ‘community’ is our middle name, and I look forward to seeing Ivy Tech become the workforce development and higher education engine our communities need to ensure long-term Hoosier prosperity.”

5-Year Strategic Plan Launches