Lamar, Col. – Arosha Loku Umagiliyage, Agriculture Faculty, recently joined Lamar Community College (LCC) to develop and deliver a new Precision Agriculture Program.
Umagiliyage is an agriculture technology researcher who worked on diverse areas of agriculture- food safety, bioprocess technology, and precision agriculture. Before joining LCC, he was a research assistant and a teaching assistant at Southern Illinois University (SIU) for seven years, where he received a master’s degree in plant, soil and agriculture systems technology and is a Ph.D. candidate in agriculture sciences. He has a wide range of teaching experience, from extensive tutoring and individual mentoring to teaching undergraduate courses in agricultural technologies for students of diverse backgrounds. He also instructed the high- demand precision agriculture course for the last three years at SIU.
“Agriculture Department Chair Greg Cash worked closely with the Agriculture Advisory Committee to create the Precision Agriculture Program, and a lot of work was put into finding the right person to lead it,” said Dr. Annessa Stagner Stulp, dean of academic services at LCC. “Arosha’s background, training, and creative mindset are a perfect fit for the innovative directions that the LCC Agriculture department is moving in.”
Umagiliyage develops environment-friendly ways to improve food safety of produce and specialty crops. He is interested in machine-learning and decision- making systems to enable unmanned aircraft systems (UAS, commonly known as a drone) and ground automation technologies to manage precision agricultural operations collaboratively.
“To me, precision agriculture means being financially and environmentally sustainable while managing production inputs on a site-specific basis – application of right inputs, at the right time, at the right place, at the right amount, using right technology,” Umagiliyage said, “so that allows farms to become even better stewards of their farming system.”
For many years, Umagiliyage has been a member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and the International Association for Food Protection, where he actively disseminated his findings. He also authored many peer-reviewed publications about applied technologies in high impact scientific journals. Moreover, he serves as a reviewer for several academic journals, including Transactions of the ASABE. On the extension and outreach standpoint, he helps with field days, hands-on extension workshops, and on-farm demonstrations of research trials.
In his free time, Umagiliyage can be found with his family, hiking, riding a motorbike, or doing anything other than research and teaching.