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Raven Industries Inc. (RAVN - Analyst Report), in association with the South Dakota State University (SDSU), plans to establish a research development center within The Research Park in the university premises, in Brookings, S.D., to develop new precision agriculture technologies.

Precision agriculture is a commercialized field management approach that uses applied science such as satellite technology, computerized steering, advanced planter control systems, and variable rate applications of seeds and chemicals, which assist farmers and custom applicators to control their operations efficiently.

With the global population expanding rapidly, Raven's Applied Technology Division has embarked on a mission to help farmers grow more food. Precision agriculture optimizes management of every location in a field in order to enhance returns and maximize use of resources.
    
Raven will employ two full-time and six part-time intern positions for research work in engineering, agronomy and agribusiness. Raven will also offer student interns practical experience in highly technical areas.

The collaboration will support South Dakota's higher education efforts and provide rewarding jobs. It will also enhance economic growth in the state by building on the university’s discovery to drive commercialization and create new products and services.

Raven, having prior experience with other research and development centers in the U.S., has recently worked with SDSU faculty and students to successfully design a one-of-its-kind multi-hybrid planter control solution.

South Dakota-based Raven Industries is an industrial manufacturer providing a variety of products for the agricultural, industrial, construction and military/aerospace markets. Raven operates through four business segments – Engineered Films, Electronic Systems, Applied Technology and Aerostar.
 
Raven expects to return to historic earnings growth levels in fiscal 2014, driven by benefits from investments made over the last few years, new product developments, and expansions.

Raven currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Among other stocks in the same industry, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (HUWHY), with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), and Federal Signal Corp. (FSS - Snapshot Report) and ITT Corporation (ITT - Analyst Report) with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), are worth considering.
 

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