Booker Highlights Warren Community College's Precision … – Senator Cory Booker

NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today visited Warren Community College to see its Precision Agriculture Technology Project, an initiative of the college’s Unmanned Systems Program, that addresses agriculture industry needs in the region by improving farm land management. Booker has been an advocate for the project and for the inclusion of nearly $700,000 in federal funding in the draft Senate appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2024.
Warren Community College first launched its Unmanned Systems Program in 2018. The college is at the forefront of drone industry education, and on Friday, Booker heard from educators and officials about the college’s initiative to equip students to deploy drone technology to improve farm management and sustainability. Warren Community College has invested significantly in a state-of-the-art outdoor flight training center, procured a fleet of more than 75 unmanned aircraft systems, and received numerous authorizations from the Federal Aviation Administration to train operators. Its new initiative seeks to expand the Unmanned Systems Program by launching career pathway options in agriculture, including precision agriculture, which has the potential to transform current farm management practices and increase profitability.  
“Incredible work is taking place at Warren Community College, with their program that trains students for high-paying jobs in agriculture,” said Senator Booker. “I am excited to see the advancement that students and dedicated experts can make for local farmers, to help them save money, increase crop yields, and manage their land more efficiently. I was proud to advocate for this program to receive federal funding, and will fight to ensure that it is funded in a final congressional appropriations bill.”
“Warren County Community College is very fortunate to receive this Congressional Appropriation with the assistance of Senator Booker,” said Dr. William Austin, President of Warren Community College. “This funding will allow the college to deploy leading-edge drone technology to develop farm management practices that ensure that crops and soil receive precise chemicals and land management to ensure farm profitability, sustainability while lessoning land burdens through diminishing the uses of fertilizer, pesticide, and herbicide mitigations. The project will strengthen environment protection while increasing crop yields, creating more food at less cost to produce, distribute, and for the consumer at the supermarket. With this knowledge and equipment, Warren can have an impact on the drone industry and our national food production methodologies. It is an example of our legislators, the higher education community, and New Jersey farmers working together to advance agricultural production while decreasing the financial and environmental costs for everyone.”
“This is fabulous news,” said Yvonne Reitemeyer Board of Trustees Chair and former alumni of Warren Community College. “We are so proud of our precision agriculture/drone program and this funding will go a long way in helping our farmers achieve quality results with their crops. The support of Senator Booker is extremely appreciated.”
Precision agriculture uses specialized equipment, software, and artificial intelligence to access real-time data about crop, soil, and ambient air conditions, along with other relevant information such as local weather patterns. Sensors in fields measure moisture content as well as soil and air temperature, and robotic drones provide farmers with real-time images of individual plants, all of which is then integrated and processed with other data to yield guidance for immediate and future decisions. This initiative at Warren County Community College will provide students training to access high-paying jobs upon graduation and provide local farmers with more tools for sustainability.
Today’s visit to Warren Community College was part of Booker’s 2023 Jersey Summer Road Trip, a series of stops highlighting New Jersey’s 21 counties and the incredible progress that the state is making. The road trip will focus on Booker’s efforts to secure congressionally directed funding for critical projects in the state; his legislative priorities, including his work to address the opioid epidemic, counter the scourge of gun violence, and serve New Jersey veterans; and his support of local businesses and organizations.
Tags: Education, Food & Agriculture


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