Two people in white shirts stand next to research poster sitting on a table.

Students Share Projects at 75th Agricultural Technology Expo

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Hosted by the NDSU Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABEN) Department, the 75th annual Agricultural Technology Exposition named Ben Van Berkom and Scott Drovdal as the grand champions this year.

The two NDSU seniors presented their project, “High-Capacity Batteries in Agriculture,” during the Feb. 11 event. Van Berkom is a precision agriculture major, while Drovdal is majoring in agribusiness. Both are graduates of Des Lacs-Burlington High School.

The Agricultural Technology Expo began in 1948 and is sponsored by the student branch of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and the Agricultural Systems Management Club. It is the largest student activity in the ABEN Department.

During the event, students present on a topic related to technology within agriculture. Van Berkom and Drovdal explored the technology being advanced by companies such as Bobcat and John Deere in battery-powered equipment. The project explored the advantages and disadvantages of the batteries and specifications on how they operate.

“The biggest thing I learned from it, content-wise, was the fact that there are so many variables that go into electric or battery-powered machinery,” says Van Berkom. “One thing I really enjoyed about this project is the learning I was able to do as I presented. I learned more presenting our project than I did while I was preparing it.”

“The Agricultural Technology Exposition is a great environment to hone presentation skills,” Van Berkom added. “Battery powered machinery can be a hotly-debated topic. I thought it was fun to practice presenting information and having open conversations about a topic that can sometimes be controversial.”

More than $1,500 in scholarships are typically awarded during the event. Scholarships are awarded to the grand champion project, division winners and best freshman project.


NDSU ABEN Department 

Leon Schumacher, 701-231-5173,

(Story by Luann Dart, edited by NDSU ABEN Department)