On Wednesday evening, September 6, 2017 Professor Sangjoon Lee and Jason St. John of Alfred University attended the Allegany County Farm Bureau board meeting in an effort to gain their support and feedback on the university’s Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant application. Business and Engineering faculty of Alfred University applied for the ARC grant proposing to train the local workforce in drone repair/maintenance/piloting and business skills, then to apply those skills to obtain farm data that will increase the local farming community’s crop health and yield.
The board members were enthusiastic about the grant’s goals and were more than gracious with their feedback. Jason explained that if ARC approved the university’s grant, then the farmers would initially receive farm data free of charge, and that really got the member’s attention. Many of the board members have heard that drones have several farm uses, but their high cost is a major hurdle. Using drones is ideal for those jobs that are dirty, distant, dangerous, or dull, and is a very cost effective tool to gather farm data. Private companies offering drone services charge too much for some of the smaller farm operations in this area, but Jason explained that Alfred University can likely provide the same level of service to the farm community at a lower cost, and use local students, if it received the ARC grant, and that really sets the university apart.
Professor Lee and Jason left the board meeting hoping for the community’s support, and looking forward to servicing them as customers of Alfred University’s drone and business services in the near future.
By Jason St. John, Finance Major, Alfred University (2018 grad)