Lake Region State program head presents at summit

Paul Gunderson, director of the Dakota Precision Ag Center at Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, will be presenting at the North American Agricultural Safety Summit Wednesday through Friday in Minneapolis.

He will be presenting on innovative ag technologies, including unmanned aerial vehicle applications in agriculture, biomass storage and shipping, and International Labour Organization Code of Conduct with ag safety.

According to a press release issued by the college, Gunderson has been director of the ag center since it was established at Lake Region State College. The Dakota Precision Ag Center emerged through the N.D. Centers of Excellence initiative. The Centers of Excellence initiative fosters high quality research, responds to private-sector need for product-related research and development, and contributes to a quality environment for technological job development with North Dakota. The Dakota Precision Ag Center has spearheaded research projects related to precision agriculture and its benefits for producers in the northern Plains.

Lake Region State College’s precision ag program is stationed at the ag center’s headquarters a mile north of campus. A full freshmen class of two dozen students is enrolled in the program.

The resurgence of the program was due to a $2.99 million U.S. Department of Labor grant awarded to the college to develop training programs in precision agriculture. Gunderson was a key player in the program returning to the college. Starting this fall, the college now delivers a degree in precision agriculture and training for those already working in the industry. The program also targets training and assistance to Trade Adjustment Assistance-impacted workers, unemployed veterans, and other unemployed and underemployed people seeking to increase their skills for new and higher-paying jobs in the state of North Dakota.

Gunderson also is dedicated to many external projects that benefit agricultural producers. He has chaired the National Academy of Sciences Committee to Review the NIOSH Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Research Program.

He also has a strong passion for safety in agriculture and has been part of a planning group focused upon bringing post-graduate training in agricultural health and safety issues for physicians, veterinarians and nurses to North Dakota. Gunderson has served on the National Board of the Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America and Farm Safety 4 Just Kids and continues to serve on the External Advisory Committee for the High Plains Center for Agricultural Safety and Health-Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo., and the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health, Iowa City, Iowa.