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Precision Agriculture Certificate celebrates first graduates

Fourteen students earn USask’s new certificate.
Graduating University of Saskatchewan student Alex Hinz.

SASKATOON — Fourteen students including Alex Hinz graduated with a new certificate at USask Spring Convocation.

Alex Hinz officially received his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (major in Agronomy, minor in Agribusiness) plus the Certificate in Precision Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) Spring Convocation on June 5.

The Precision Agriculture Certificate is a new program that provides USask undergraduate students the opportunity to gain knowledge and develop experiential skills in precision agriculture by leveraging competencies from their academic discipline. The program is recommended to students studying in agriculture and bioresources, engineering, computer science, environment and society, hydrology or regional and urban planning.

“I choose to pursue the new certificate since it provides hands-on learning experiences to develop skills that I could use on our own operation and to also give me a hiring advantage over other new graduates working in the industry,” said Hinz.

In the new program, students learn how to manage crops precisely to increase both production and sustainability. This includes knowledge of the technologies used in precision agriculture (satellite imagery, global positioning and information systems, big data, yield mapping, management zones) to understand what drives within-field crop yield variability from year to year.

“For agriculture, the use of technology, prescriptions, zone management, soil sampling, etc. is only going to become more and more important,” said Hinz. “Understanding the drivers of field scale variability, how to account for them, then refine, and filter data provides students competencies they need for the real world.”

Hinz’s family’s operation is near Muenster, Sask. and this growing season he is applying what he learned from the Precision Agriculture Certificate to the field.

— Submitted by USask Media Relations