WSU’s Lav Khot, colleagues receive multi-state award for ag drone research, extension

APLU award ceremony
WSU’s Lav Khot, center, accepts the National Excellence in Multistate Research Award, Nov. 6, at the APLU Annual Meeting in Denver, Colo., with colleague and team academic advisor Randy Raper, right, and Gary Thompson, executive director of the Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors.

Lav Khot, associate professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering, was honored by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ Commission on Food, Environment, and Renewable Resources for ongoing efforts to enhance the role of drones in agriculture.

Khot and colleagues at more than 20 research institutions received the 2022 National Excellence in Multistate Research Award from the Experiment Station Section (ESS) unit of the commission’s Board on Agriculture Assembly for their research and extension work in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) applications for U.S. agriculture and natural resources.

Launching their project in 2016, participating scientists evaluated and identified reliable, cost-effective, and user-friendly drone platforms and sensors to monitor and manage stressors in agriculture and natural resources. To maximize data accuracy, project members developed hardware, software, and detailed protocols for calibrating and using drones. New drone-based strategies can help address challenges in accuracy, from more sustainably using water and chemical inputs to helping growers make better production decisions.

Formal portrait of Lav Khot
Lav Khot, Associate Professor, Biological Systems Engineering

“Over the last five years, our group, which includes members from many land-grant universities, have worked together to break down barriers and increase adoption of drones for remote sensing and precision management of agriculture and natural resources,” Khot said. “This is very much a team award, and I’m happy that we’re being recognized by peers for our collaborative efforts.”

As the project’s technical committee chair, Khot helps support the collaboration with administrative advisor Randy Raper of Oklahoma State University. Other participating institutions include Auburn University, University of Arkansas, Arkansas Cooperative Extension, Clemson University, Cornell University, University of Florida, University of Georgia, University of Illinois, University of Kentucky, Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University, Montana State University, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, North Dakota Cooperative Extension, Ohio State University, Purdue University, Rutgers University, Stephen F. Austin State University, University of Tennessee, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

The award was presented Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022, at the APLU Annual Meeting in Denver, Colo.

APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The association works to increase degree completion and academic success, advance scientific research, and expand engagement.