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Centralia’s Shannon introduces youth to the intersection of robotics, agriculture

Posted on Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 6:51 am

One could say Kent Shannon sees the future.

One might be more accurate to say Ken Shannon is working to bring about a future he wants to see.

For Shannon and his students, a group covering a members of the Centralia-area F&L Hustlers 4-H club as well as students of the University of Missouri, the future started with Legos and $10 microprocessors and continues through $100,000 combines, with farm tractors  and basketball-sized aerial drones in between.

Kent Shannon with some of the microprocessor-powered drones he uses to teach students about robotics.

Shannon’s enthusiasm for discussing and teaching the automation of agricultural systems is almost evangelical.

His first experience with Ag automation, came in 1999, he said, when he used a $3,000 GPS system to guide two combines.

And 4-H, he said, is an educational driving force to keep area youth interested in such things and help stop the steady drop in home-grown science, technology, engineering and math students. “And in my entire career as an Ag. Engineer, I am always interested in extending that to youth,” Shannon, an assistant teaching professor of Ag. Systems management at the University of Missouri, said.

Shannon has been with the university almost 30, years, starting with University Extension in Kirksville.

For the complete article, see next week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.