The OSU Hand Planter with Dr. Bill Raun


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“Hand Planter for the Developing World: Factor Testing and Refinement” with Dr. Bill Raun

Across Central America, South America, and Africa, there are thousands of acres of land with slopes and landscapes that will never be suitable for mechanized agriculture. For hundreds of years, they have been planted by hand, a practice that continues today.

The problem is, as technology in chemical seed treatments has advanced, technology in hand-planting techniques has not, resulting in thousands of farmers’ exposure to seed-friendly chemicals that can lead to sickness and even birth defects in humans.

After splitting much of his childhood and early career between North, South, and Central America and seeing the results of this exposure, Dr. Bill Raun decided it was time to do something about it. Working with engineering students and professors at Oklahoma State University, he has spent more than 20 years developing a new hand planter that will work with existing hand-planting techniques to increase yields and get good, chemically treated seed out of farmers’ hands.

Listen now to learn:

  • What are some of the problems Central American farmers face when using traditional hand-planting techniques?
  • How can use of the hand-planter and modified hand-planting techniques double yields for developing world farmers?
  • Why is anthropology so key in designing new tools, and how does human interaction affect design?

If you would like more information about this topic, this episode’s paper is available here:

This paper is always freely available.

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If you would like to reach out to Bill, you can find him here:


CEU Quiz:

Hand Planter Site: Nitrogen Use Efficiency Site:

CSA News article:

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