Topcon Agriculture Opens Kansas Research Campus
By Chad Elmore05 October 2018
Topcon Agriculture has established a research campus in the Kansas State University office park in Manhattan, Kan. The company said the move it is expected to promote collaboration and engagement with students and faculty, boost the company’s research capacity and solidify connections with producers through K-State Research and Extension.
“Topcon Agriculture and K-State have been working together for two years on various projects, and both entities sought a deeper, multifaceted partnership that would differentiate the typical vendor and university relationship,” said Fabio Isaia, CEO of Topcon Agriculture. “This strategic partnership will boost our R&D technology advancement to accelerate the commercialization of farmer-driven innovation.”
Topcon Agriculture recently signed a master research agreement with Kansas State University to develop tools and systems to advance precision agriculture, but the company said it saw larger possibilities in an expanded collaboration facilitated by the Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization.
The new Topcon Agriculture Research Campus will include precision agriculture classroom space with state-of-the-art equipment to train faculty, students and customers to incorporate technology into agricultural practices. The company will also donate technology infrastructure improvements and equipment for the university’s Agronomy North Farm and streamline access to future upgrades.
“Kansas is a unique state as it has striking variations in environmental conditions,” said Brian Sorbe, vice president of sales and marketing, North America for Topcon Agriculture. “The highly variable soil and rainfall patterns across the state allow it to emulate multiple types of growing environments. This makes Kansas ideal for conducting precision agriculture research to develop products for the entire country.”
Working with K-State Research and Extension, Topcon Agriculture said it will have a streamlined pathway from concept, creation to on-farm use and education.
Topcon Agriculture said its co-location with the university will help it recruit students and graduates to work for the company in the U.S. or abroad. It also demonstrates the success of area efforts to bring knowledge-based jobs and growth to the local economy.
“Topcon Agriculture values Kansas State University’s comprehensive, research and land-grant mission to provide practical information to help change the lives of its students, the people of Kansas, the nation and the world,” said Michael Gomes, Topcon Agriculture’s vice president of business development, IoT. “Part of Topcon’s overarching mission is to enrich human life by solving societal challenges in agriculture.”
Beyond Manhattan, the company’s partnership with Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus and K-State Research and Extension is expected to help Topcon Agriculture conduct on-farm research around the state.