The University of Illinois is uniquely placed to lead digital agriculture. The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) and the Grainger College of Engineering consist of departments that rank in the top tier of all their respective disciplines. The University of Illinois has taken significant steps towards advancing digital agriculture not only with the Center for Digital Agriculture, but also through formal academic programs. Undergraduate degrees in Computer Science + Crop Sciences and Computer Science + Animal Sciences were recently launched and are unique multidisciplinary degree programs that will increase awareness of digital agriculture. A new Master of Science degree in Digital Agriculture will drive research and development of digital agriculture applications.
Companies face a profound shortage of skilled personnel at all levels, which impedes their ability to strategically develop and expand their business. CDA will address this both by producing graduates with strong, multidisciplinary skills and through retraining programs for the existing workforce. Strong collaborative opportunities exist with companies interested in research and development. Close cooperation of CDA with diverse agricultural and food industries and distribution organizations within Illinois, nationally, and globally will also provide essential guidance to new basic and applied research and its deployment in large-scale production.