Today’s agricultural industry uses robots, temperature and humidity sensors, aerial photography and GPS technology to increase profitability, efficiency, safety and environmental friendliness.

To help farmers learn how to benefit from these new technologies, the Clemson University School of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences established CU-CAT (Clemson University Center for Agricultural Technology). CU-CAT is a collaboration center focused on research, education and outreach.

A kickoff event to announce the new venture is scheduled for August 31 at 1:30 pm at the Watt Family Innovation Center at 405 South Palmetto Blvd. in Clemson. This event is for the Clemson community and includes a short presentation about the Center.

Speakers will discuss how work at the center advances agricultural technology. A reception will follow with poster presentations, technology demonstrations and refreshments.

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Similar events are held statewide. A time and date will be announced.

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CU-CAT Director Kendall Kirk graduated from Clemson University with Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD degrees in Biosystems Engineering. He is a precision agriculture engineer at his Edisto Research and Education Center (REC) in Blackville, South Carolina. His work focuses on developing useful, profitable and cost-effective technologies and software for growers.

“The center will have a positive impact on farmers through the creation and deployment of new solutions and improved access to existing resources and recommendations,” said Kirk.

CU-CAT is headquartered at Edisto REC in Blackville, but works with students and researchers at each Clemson REC on campus and statewide.

In addition to Kirk, other researchers from a variety of specialties will have the opportunity to contribute scientific and research-based information to the Clemson University Agricultural Technology Center.

For more information, visit www.clemson.edu/cafls/cu-cat/.

Technology is becoming more and more important in agriculture. Farmers no longer need to spread water, fertilizers and pesticides evenly over their fields. Instead, you can target very specific areas using the bare minimum amount, or even treat individual plants differently. Benefits include high crop productivity. Less use of water, fertilizers and pesticides, lower food prices. Reduced impact on natural ecosystems. Less chemical runoff into rivers and groundwater increases worker safety.

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In addition, robotic technology enables more reliable monitoring and management of natural resources such as air and water quality. This gives producers more control over the production, processing, distribution and storage of plants and animals, resulting in greater efficiency, lower prices, safer growing conditions and safer food. Not only that, but the impact on the environment and ecosystems is also reduced.

Denise Attaway reports on public services and agriculture from the Clemson University School of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences.


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