Unique agricultural automation major offered

Printer-friendly version Posted Date: Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 11:15

A one-of-a-kind program that combines the principles of agriculture and engineering in order to prepare students for in-demand careers is coming to Alfred State College.

Classes for this unique new associate degree program, titled agricultural automation and robotics, will begin in the fall 2019. Students in this major, the only one of its kind in the US, will receive hands-on experience with automated milking equipment, as well as class work in both agriculture and engineering. Graduates of this interdisciplinary program will become experts in the management and maintenance of modern, automated agricultural equipment.

According to Dr. Phil Schroeder, program coordinator and chair of the Agriculture and Veterinary Technology Department, careers related to agriculture are diverse and constantly changing. Today’s students need the flexibility to tailor a degree to suit their needs. That’s why Alfred State’s agricultural automation and robotics curriculum has been designed to prepare students to enter the workforce as an agricultural automation technician or continue their education in one of Alfred State’s related baccalaureate programs.

“The agricultural automation and robotics program was developed in response to needs identified through discussions with industry representatives,” Schroeder said. “We currently have several of the leading firms in this area who are ready to hire graduates of this program.”

Occupational opportunities for graduates of this program include installation and maintenance of agricultural automation equipment, agricultural automation equipment operations, agricultural automation equipment research and development, and salesperson and consultant for agricultural equipment distributors.

Alfred State President Dr. Skip Sullivan said, “We are delighted to add agricultural automation and robotics to our growing list of in-demand majors, and are especially excited to be the only school in the country to offer such a program. I thank all of the employees who made this new major possible.”

Dr. Kristin Poppo, provost at Alfred State, said, “As one of SUNY’s older agricultural colleges, Alfred State is committed to meeting the needs of the agriculture industry. Having used a robotic milking machine for many years, we have learned first-hand about the challenges the industry is facing finding qualified technicians. Once again, we will continue to prepare students for today’s farms.”

Dr. Daniel Katz, dean of Alfred State’s School of Arts and Sciences, said, “The agricultural automation and robotics program is another exciting example of what Alfred State does best. Our students and faculty engage in cutting-edge technology, which applies theories explored in the classroom to operating machinery and developing processes that offer solutions for years to come.“