UACES Facebook UA Agricultural Systems Technology program uses robot donated by Tyson Foods
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Nov. 21, 2019

UA Agricultural Systems Technology program uses robot donated by Tyson Foods

By Kenley Bramall
Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences

Fast Facts:

  • Tyson awards grant for robot to Bumpers College
  • Robot for department of agricultural education, communications and technology
  • Robot will be used in existing and special projects classes in agricultural industrial robots

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The department of agricultural education, communications and technology in the University of Arkansas’ Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences recently received a robotic helping hand from Tyson Foods.

Agricultural Education, Communications & Technology Six-Axis Robotic Arm
ROBOTIC ARM – Don Johnson, professor of agricultural systems, demonstrates the capabilities of a six-axis robotic arm donated by Tyson Foods, Inc. (U of A System Division of Agriculture photo by Nick Kordsmeier)

Tyson awarded a grant for a robot that will be used in many agricultural systems and technology courses. Tyson awards the grant to nine schools around the state to encourage student engagement in science, technology, engineering and math.

Don Johnson, agricultural systems professor for Bumpers College and the UA System Division of Agriculture, said the robot will be used in existing classes, as well as an upcoming special topics class on agricultural industrial robotics.

"Robots are often used in industry," Johnson said. "This class will help prepare students to use them in the workforce."

The programmable six-axis robot can be programmed through a touchpad or software. In industry, similar robots are often used for palletizing or welding. Industrial robotics technology continues to evolve and is being increasingly used in the food processing industry. It is just now appearing in secondary agricultural education.

Students will become familiar with the machine to use in industry or to use as a teaching tool.

The agricultural systems and technology management concentration in AECT stays up to date on precision agriculture technologies and other industrial machines such as drones, irrigation methods, robotics and GPS automated systems.

"If it is something technologically related and relevant, we use it and teach it," Johnson said.

Johnson attended a training through ABB, the manufacturing company for the robot, to gain further knowledge on the system's operations. Rodney Ellis, a technical education liaison with Tyson Foods, coordinated the training workshop. Ellis is a U of A and Bumpers College graduate in agricultural education, communication and technology.

The grant from Tyson is equivalent to $50,000. Along with the robot, Tyson donated 100 copies of software programming.

To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow us on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch and Instagram at ArkAgResearch.

About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences

Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture.

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

Media Contact: Robby Edwards
Director of Communications
Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences
(479) 575-4625