June 2, 2023 4:08 pm

Wooster Daily Record

WOOSTER − The Ohio State University received a gift from Trimble, a technology company, to establish state-of-the-art technology labs for the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

The gift of software and hardware represents the largest philanthropic gift-in-kind investment to support teaching, research and outreach in the history of CFAES, according to a news release.

The multidisciplinary labs at Ohio State will enhance teaching, research and outreach activities in food and agricultural engineering, construction management and natural resources. The Trimble technology labs will be located on the Columbus campus and Ohio State ATI on the CFAES Wooster campus. The labs will be the first to include Trimble agriculture solutions.

Custom training workstations

The centerpieces of this gift are customized training workstations that simulate the use of Trimble agriculture hardware and software in the classroom environment, according to the release. The technology will instruct students on technologies such as machine guidance control and steering in the classroom, as well as field leveling and water management systems. The workstations will enable students to interact with technology in the classroom before they begin working with equipment in the field.

“CFAES is proud to be the home of the first Trimble technology labs focused on agriculture. The impact this collaboration will have on our college and students is truly immeasurable,” said Cathann A. Kress, Ohio State vice president for agricultural administration and dean of CFAES. “It will allow us to be at the cutting edge of technology and innovation across our agriculture and environmental science disciplines. We are extremely grateful for Trimble’s investment in our college on both our Columbus and CFAES Wooster campuses.”

The labs include components of Trimble’s Connected Construction portfolio, which enables professionals along the project lifecycle to bring collaboration, accuracy and repeatability to the office and the field. Partnering with Trimble will allow students and faculty to more fully integrate technology tools that are transforming how buildings and living environments are designed and constructed.

A boost to technology-driven careers

“The Trimble technology labs on the Columbus and CFAES Wooster campuses will become indispensable as we prepare students for the technology-driven careers of the future in agriculture, construction, and natural resources,” said Scott Shearer, professor and chair, CFAES Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering. “In addition, these labs will enhance the land-grant mission of Ohio State by placing state-of-the-arts geospatial tools in the hands of researchers and Extension professionals to enhance the management of agriculture and natural resources across Ohio.”

The labs will support outreach programs through Ohio State University Extension − CFAES’ statewide outreach arm − and agricultural professional training programs to re-equip Ohio farmers and agricultural professionals in the adoption of new technologies to increase agricultural output while preserving environmental quality.

“The Trimble gift is an investment in experiential learning and practical skills training, that will not only benefit our faculty and students, but also foster innovation and progress in industries that rely on cutting-edge technologies,” said Kris Boone, assistant dean and director at Ohio State ATI in Wooster. “This gift strengthens our partnership with Trimble and increases our ability to develop and deliver workforce training and credentials in the agricultural technology space.”

The equipment and software will be integrated into CFAES curriculum, with a goal to have both labs open during fall semester 2023.

Trimble has a history of philanthropic support of Ohio State dating back to 1987. Daryl Matthews, senior vice president, Trimble, said, “Ohio State is an educational leader in producing innovative research and top-level graduates in agriculture and construction. In addition, we have many Ohio State alumni who work on teams across Trimble’s businesses, and we have a significant presence in Ohio with our operations. Supporting their important work by providing advanced technologies will help fuel their programs to develop professionals for the future.”

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