We live in a “connected” world. Everything we now do or care about is literally just a touch, click or voice command away. But if you would ask Apple’s new virtual assistant Siri what the current state of precision agriculture is she would probably hang up on you!
Unfortunately, in the world of precision ag there is still a lot of disconnect. Vital field data is lost or never collected, other is banished forever to the internal prison of a grower’s desktop PC while other data sits in a sterile white room full of servers run by industry giants John Deere, Monsanto and Pioneer.
How do we reconnect a disconnected industry? That is the question that will be the focus of a first of its kind agricultural symposium called IDEAg being held outside of Des Moines, Iowa the first of next week.
Called the IDEAg Connectivity Conference attendees from all corners of the agricultural industry will gather to put into focus where we’re at today in regards to the “Connected Farm” as Trimble has dubbed it and who are the future players in this space are going to be. The conference takes place June 25th through June 27th in Altoona, IA.
Looking through the exhibitor and speaker list some of the familiar names are there – John Deere, Raven, Trimble, SST Software – but there are some smaller players as well as industry outsiders who may be the ones to watch at this conference and beyond. Names like AgSense – a company who has put center pivot control at your fingertips or AgIntegrated who will announce new ways to get data to and from the field are just some of the companies to put on your radar screen. The other 800-pound guerrilla attending is telecom giant ATT who just happens to be a major sponsor of the IDEAg conference.
If the disconnect that exists in the precision ag realm today is to be solved it will first take a wireless solution in order to solve it. It is not the final answer but it is the bridge that is necessary to be built so that the rest of the industry hopefully can walk across it together. Whether it’s a massive government rural broadband initiative or a multi-billion dollar investment by telecom giants like ATT and Verizon – connecting agriculture to the modern world starts by connecting it where agriculture actually takes place and that is in the field. If and when 4G cell coverage comes to the Back 40 it will be like Christmas has come to the country.
We’ll keep an eye on what comes out of Iowa next week but Precision Ag 2.0 is all about connectivity and sharing information and ultimately extracting value from it. IDEAg hopefully is a symbolic step like the driving of the first spike in the trans-continental railroad. We just hope that in the future all parties are able to connect at a common place that ultimately benefits the grower farming the Back 40.
For more information on IDEAg check out their web page by clicking here.