Clark State seeks funding for UAS agricultural training


Clark State Community College wants to be a training center for unmanned aerial systems in precision agriculture.

Documents submitted by the college to the state of Ohio request $275,000 from the state capital budget, which would support a $520,000 initiative to develop a curriculum for UAS training for precision agriculture. The remainder of the money would come through private funds, according to a school application.

Such a program could prop up the UAS industry in Dayton, which already has several training resources through Sinclair Community College. The region also is vying to be one of six FAA-designated test sites for UAS, ahead of the opening of the national airspace to UAS in 2015. The region that receives the designation will likely be a magnet for UAS developers.

While usually associated with the military and defense, UAS — also known as drones — have a multitude of non-military uses, including in law enforcement, meteorology, the energy sector and farming. Among the uses in agriculture is having a UAS perform crop spraying and surveying.

The agricultural UAS center could also mean greater prominence for Clark State, which has been expanding its presence in Greene County and among defense and aerospace companies.

“Program funding will support curriculum development, technology to support modeling and simulation analysis, and student internships,” said the application, which also specifies the project could impact Clark, Greene, Champaign and Logan counties.

The school says such a program could provide training for 400 jobs within five years, and training for 1,000 jobs in 10. The program also could attract 200 new jobs to the region in five years, and 400 in 10.

Clark State officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.