By Matt Darr, Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
Did you know that over two-thirds of every dollar spent in agriculture is spent on decisions focused on seed selection, fertility, and land access? Producers annually compile new information around input selections, farming practices, and risk management to implement an improved production plan each year. Recently, advances in machine data availability, improved climate modeling, and new technologies including high resolution crop imagery have enabled new industries around the concept of Big Data which is aimed to help producers better navigate their annual decision process and result in more on-farm productivity and profitability.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, in partnership with national precision ag leaders and Meister Media, will hold an Ag Big Data conference on August 25, 2014 on the Iowa State University (ISU) campus. Big Data is a concept of data driven and value added decisions that has been growing in use across agriculture. As new Big Data products and services are available to producers, questions exist around data privacy, producer value, and best practices to engage with this new industry.
The agenda is packed with knowledge from both university leaders in the area of Big Data as well as producers who are actively using Big Data as part of their day-to-day on-farm decision making process:
- The morning will be kicked off by a message from Bill Northey, Secretary of Agriculture, state of Iowa, about the importance of this new industry in the Midwest.
- Dr. Matt Darr, ISU, will discuss the producer value opportunity of working with data. He will be joined by producers that will share their story of how they have leveraged data into value added decisions.
- Dr. Shannon Ferrell, Oklahoma State University, will be on-hand to share key details regarding data ownership and privacy, and help educate attendees on how to navigate these issues when engaging in data sharing and data management.
- After lunch Catherine Campbell will share how data is being infused into sourcing decisions with major food processors and retailers like General Mills and Walmart and what data producers should expect to provide in order to meet these future requirements.
- Dr. John Fulton, Auburn University, and Dr. Scott Shearer, The Ohio State University, will jointly lead a discussion on who the major players and partners are within the Big Data space. They will discuss pros and cons of different data services models and provide best management practices for producers to decide what type of data partner is best for their business.
- The day will wrap up with a panel discussion by experienced growers who are actively using Big Data in their decision process. They will share their success stories and help stimulate ideas for how producers integrated Big Data into farm management practice.
- All sessions will have planned time for Q&A so bring along your top Big Data questions and get them answered by leaders in this emerging field.
Additional information and registration can be found here:
Matt Darr is an associate professor with teaching and research responsibilities in precision agriculture in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (515) 294-8545.
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