Agricultural Technology Center: CU-CAT in Blackville focuses on research, education and outreach | Agriculture

DENISE ATTAWAY Special to The T&D

Today’s agricultural industry uses robots, temperature and humidity sensors, aerial imagery, and GPS technology to be more profitable, efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly.

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

A kickoff event to announce this new company is scheduled for August 31 at 1:30 pm at the Watt Family Innovation Center, 405 South Palmetto Blvd., Clemson. This event is for the Clemson community and will include a short presentation about the center.

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

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Similar events will be held throughout the state. Times and dates to be announced.

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CU-CAT Director Kendall Kirk graduated from Clemson with bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in biosystems engineering. He is a precision agriculture engineer at the Edisto Research and Education Center (REC) in Blackville, South Carolina. His work focuses on the development of technologies and software that are useful, profitable and profitable for producers.

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

CU-CAT is based at the Edisto REC in Blackville, but will work with students and researchers on campus and at each of the Clemson RECs throughout the state.

In addition to Kirk, other researchers in different areas of expertise will have the opportunity to provide research-based scientific information for the Clemson University Center for Agricultural Technology.

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

Technology is becoming more and more important in agriculture. Farmers no longer need to apply water, fertilizers, and pesticides evenly across entire fields. Instead, they can use the minimum amounts required and target very specific areas, or even treat individual plants differently. Benefits include increased crop productivity; less use of water, fertilizers and pesticides, which in turn keeps food prices low; reduced impact on natural ecosystems; less chemical runoff into rivers and groundwater and increased safety for workers.

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In addition, robotic technologies enable more reliable control and management of natural resources, such as air and water quality. This also gives growers more control over the production, processing, distribution and storage of plants and animals, which translates into higher efficiency and lower prices, safer growing conditions and safer food, as well as as a reduced environmental and ecological impact.

Denise Attaway reports for Public Service and Agriculture in Clemson University’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences.

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