Polytechnic Anderson partners with utility provider for ag engagement, education

Aaron McCambridge, left, a student at Purdue Polytechnic Anderson, works with Rashmi Deodeshmukh, assistant professor of practice, near a farm field lab on which the institute is partnering with NineStar Connect in Hancock County. (Submitted photo)

Ninestar Connect, a cooperative offering electricity, water and fiber optic services in Hancock County, Ind., and Purdue Polytechnic Anderson are working together to engage students and the local community in learning about new agricultural innovations.

They are using Ninestar Connect’s 23-acre farm to analyze plans for nutrient and chemical composition with sensors, automation and networking. They are also gathering, interpreting and developing insight from data gathered.

“This partnership will make it possible for the students to think about innovative applications in the farming sector primarily for crop management,” said Rashmi Deodeshmukh, assistant professor of practice in the Polytechnic’s School of Engineering Technology. “The hope is that a student can think of a solution related to a challenge in the field and be able to take the solution from a concept to a design that can be tested and implemented.”

The farm is near Ninestar Connect’s Idea Co-op co-working space. Peter Bitar, Purdue Polytechnic Anderson’s entrepreneur in residence, initiated the partnership through conversations with Idea Co-op and John Mascoe, president and founder of Leaftech Ag, a company whose headquarters is located at the co-op.

“This will be a true test and engagement opportunity for local farmers who want to enhance their operations by using sensing devices and other technologies in the field,” said Corey Sharp, director of Purdue Polytechnic Anderson. “We also appreciate NineStar’s commitment to help support youth who are interested in agriculture and technology. These students will be future farmers, engineers and technologists.”

See the full Greenfield Daily Reporter story by Mitchell Kirk.

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