Center for Digital Agriculture

Digital Ag Academy – High School

A group photo of high school student participants in Illinois 4H's Illinois Summer Academies program wearing matching orange shirts.


A part of the 4H Illinois Summer Academies (ISA) program, this course is designed to introduce high school students to the basics of coding as it is applied in the context of digital agriculture, with a focus on crops and animal production. Students will learn how to interact with drones, robots, and microcontrollers, and engage in hands-on activities with examples applied to digital agriculture. By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the fundamentals of coding and digital agriculture.
  • Apply their knowledge to real-world problems in the field of digital agriculture.
  • Use drones, robots, and microcontrollers to collect data and analyze it.
  • Develop solutions to digital agriculture problems using the skills they have learned.


Related Careers: Agriculture Data Scientist, Precision Agriculture Technician, Ag Robotics and Automation Technician, Bioinformatics Researcher, Computational Biologist, Web/Mobile Programmer, Drone Pilot, Educator

Host College: College of ACES      Host Department: Animal Sciences

To participate in the Digital Ag Academy, you will need to register for Illinois 4H’s ISA program. Please see below for more info on registering, or visit

Important Info

Program Cost

The Digital Ag Academy course costs $400 – it covers the following: 

  • Base fee covers 4 nights of lodging in a suite-style dorm room, all meals, an event t-shirt, and general event supplies. 
  • Academy fee covers all the expenses for the experiences and supplies needed during your sessions at your academy. Each academy provided different activities and experiences leading to the varying cost of academies.    

Available Payment Options

  1. Credit card. 
  2. My county is paying. Before participants can choose this option, 4-H members must contact their local Extension office to verify that their county will pay. Note that not every county has funds to assist with registration fees. Registration fees must be paid before attending the event. 


Scholarships – Apply by Friday, April 19th

This year, there are limited scholarships available to help fund student participation in the Digital Ag Academy. They are available to scholars who meet the following criteria:

1. The scholar demonstrates an interest in pursuing a career or field of study related to Agriscience. 

2. The scholar must submit responses to the essay prompts included below in this application. 

3. A letter of recommendation from a teacher, counselor, or mentor that can speak to who you are, your goals and career interests, your connection with the person, and, how granting you this scholarship would be a good opportunity for you. The letter can not be from a friend, family member/friend, or relative. Letters should be emailed to Mark Becker ( The letter must be in PDF or Word format.

  • Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements for attendance at the Illini Summer Academies in the same year they are applying for the scholarship.
  • Applicants will be informed via email within two weeks of applying if they have received the requested scholarship.
  • If you have any questions please contact Mark Becker,  Illini Summer Academies Director, at


Apply for a scholarship here:

Funding and support for the Digital Ag Academy and scholarships are provided by the CHS Foundation.

(This information is pulled directly from the Illinois 4H ISA website)

Register for ISA by April 30th – click here to register.

How to make a Z-Suite account (so you can register for ISA):  If you have not already created an account on ZSuite, you can do so now so that when the application opens you are ready to go. See instructions on how to create a free account here: 

LOCATION: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Bousfield Hall, 1214 South First Street, Champaign, IL. 

DEADLINE TO REGISTER:  April 30, 2024, by 11:59 PM CST.

OPEN TO:  Youth entering 10th – 12th grade in Fall 2024; Registration is limited to the first 150 participants. Participants must have completed their first year of high school (9th grade) to participate.


Check out our  ISA FAQ link for more information about what to bring, what to wear, and what to expect at ISA. 

  • Conference check-in on Sunday, June 23:  2:00 – 4:00 pm at Bousfield Hall.
  • Pick up on Thursday, June 27:  8:30 – 11:00 AM at Bousfield Hall.
  • Watch your email: Additional conference details will be sent to the email address provided on the ISA registration form approximately two weeks before the conference. 


CANCELATIONS & REFUNDS:  Refunds must be received in writing to Mark Becker: Requests received by April 30, 2024, by 5:00 pm will receive a refund minus a 5% processing fee. No refunds will be given after May 1, 2024. Counties are allowed to send a substitute of the same gender to this event, but must notify Mark Becker regarding the substitution.  

REQUIRED FORMS ARE ONLINE: The required Emergency Medical Form is incorporated into this online registration form. Other required forms (Risk Waiver and Overnight conduct form, Photo Media release form) can be completed during online registration.