Funded Grants

Precision Agriculture:  Technology for More Sustainable Agriculture and Greater Food Safety

Funding Agencies:  United Stated Department of Education FIPSE Grant No: P116J040005 and European Commission’s Multinational Partnerships for Cooperation in Higher Education program

Duration:  September 2004 – August 2008

Team Members:
George Vellidis (US Lead)
Biological & Agricultural Engineering Dept.
University of Georgia, USA

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William (Bill) Batchelor
Dept. of Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Mississippi State University, USA

Paul Mask
Office of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources
Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Auburn University, USA

Theofanis A. Gemtos (EU Lead)
Laboratory of Farm Mechanisation
Faculty of Agriculture, Crop Production, and Rural Environment
Panepistimio Thessalias, Greece

Francesco Morari
Departimento di Agronomia Ambientale e Produzioni Vegetali
Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy

Hermann Auernhammer
Fachgebiet Technik im Pflanzenbau
Technischen Universität München, Germany

The goal of this program was to provide permanent integrated linkages between the 6 academic institutions in the United States and the European Union participating in the TransAtlantic Precision Agriculture Consortium (TAPAC).  Precision agriculture was our vehicle for achieving this goal and also the means by which we attempted to enhance agriculture and food safety in the United States and the European Union.

This project addressed the critical need of providing the necessary training to rising agricultural professionals on both sides of the Atlantic through the development of internet-based educational modules and student experiential learning on three topics:  Engineering Applications of Precision Agriculture; Agronomic Applications of Precision Agriculture, and Food Safety Applications of Precision Agriculture.  In addition to providing technical expertise, the proposed education and student exchange program will promoted mutual understanding, recognition of common problems, and highlight the comparative strengths of the partner institutions.  The key to the success of the program was the students’ understanding that the global economy is infusing new realities and demands into the world’s food production system that must be successfully incorporated into the cultural basis of any country for that country to remain competitive in this vital sector.  The program was open to upper division undergraduate students and graduate students.  Students participating in our program progressed through three phases of learning that required approximately 1 year to complete.  Phase 1 consisted of technical training, Phase 2 consisted of cultural training, and Phase 3 consisted of application of skills learned in phases 1 and 2.  Phases 1 and 2 were completed at the home institution while Phase 3 was completed at the host institution.  Each phase had duration of one semester.  Twenty-two US and 21 EU students participated in the project.  The average exchange period was 11 weeks.  For more information on this project, please download the final evaluation reportand read the section on undergraduate international student exchange on this web page.


TAPAC – the TransAtlantic Precision Agriculture Consortium

Funding Agency:  USDA-CSREES International Science and Education Program

Proposed Duration:  September 2010 – August 2014

Team Members:

University of Georgia
Dr. George Vellidis, Biological & Agricultural Engineering – Project and TAPAC Director
Dr. Craig Kvien, Crop & Soil Sciences
Dr. Don Shurley, Agricultural & Applied Economics

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Auburn University
Dr. John Fulton, Biosystems Engineering
Dr. Paul Mask, Alabama Cooperative Extension Service
Dr. Brenda Ortiz, Agronomy & Soils

PanepistimioThessalias (Greece)
Professor Theofanis Gemtos, Laboratory of Farm Mechanisation

Università degli Studi di Padova (Italy)
Professor Francesco Morari, Departimento di Agronomia Ambientale e Produzioni Vegetali

Technische Universität München (Germany)
Dr. Markus Gandorfer, Institute of Agricultural Economics and Farm Management

The TransAtlantic Precision Agriculture Consortium (TAPAC) consists of agricultural scientists and engineers from three American and three European universities who have been working together for the past 5 years.  TAPAC members participating in this proposal are listed above.  TAPAC’s long-term goal is to establish a common M.S. degree between partner universities.  Students who enroll in this future program will be awarded dual M.S. degrees from an American and an European partner university and will spend about half of their graduate program at an overseas partner university – a compelling measure of global competence.  TAPAC’s short-term goal is to use this ISE project as a pilot study to validate concepts already developed for the common degree and to overcome institutional and funding constraints which stand in the way.  To meet this goal, we will implement a framework within which American and European students conduct their M.S. thesis research on precision agriculture at an overseas partner university while receiving a degree from their home institution.  A minimum of 6 M.S. students will participate in the program.  We will also use this project to further internationalize research and extension programs at TAPAC universities by promoting the adoption of precision agriculture by American and European producers through a series of 6 precision agriculture workshops.  The workshops will be held in Alabama (2), Georgia, Greece, Italy, and Germany and will target extension specialists and county agents in the US and government agronomists in Europe.  Thus, we will be educating the educators and ensuring that the information becomes disseminated to a broader audience.  In summary, the project will implement a framework for developing global competence in graduate students at TAPAC universities as well as having a long and lasting effect on the global competence of TAPAC faculty and staff.