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iGrow provides tailored information for South Dakota farmers

Over
forty years ago, futurist Alvin Toffler wrote Future Shock. The groundbreaking book predicted an accelerated rate
of technological and social change in the future will leave people
overhelmed and disconnected.

Well, he nailed it. Ever hear of information
overload? That’s just one occurance forecast by Toffler in 1970 that commonly
occurs today. Toffler’s
still at it. Last year, he issued a paper called “40 for the Next 40”. It
compiles 40 key trends for the next 40 years.

So
what’s he saying now?

Well,
one driver of change Toffler predicts is that valuable information risks collecting
“cyberdust”. This certainly applies to agriculture. Ever struggled with
information overload when one grain market advisor tells you prices will go up
while another tells you to sell to prevent a market bloodbath?

This
data abundance applies in production agriculture, too.

”In
a cattle production system or in precision agriculture, there are unbelievable
amounts of information generated,” says Barry Dunn, dean of the South Dakota
State University (SDSU) College of Agricultural and Biological Sciences.
Failure to sort through it all and use it to reach a decision can result in
cyberdust.

One
way SDSU is helping South Dakota farmers sort through large amounts of data is
through iGrow. It’s a bit like iTunes for farmers.

iGrow
is a way to specifically link answer seekers with problem solvers, says Dunn.

For
example, corn growers receive specific information regarding corn production.
Meanwhile, beef producers receive specific information regarding beef
production. Information is localized to a farmer’s zip code and customized to
his or her use. Information is also tailored to the season.

Examples
compiled by this free service includes information regarding:

·     
Research and trade

·     
Farm-specific agricultural weather

·     
Profitability calculators

·     
Libraries of agricultural production and
management information

·     
Podcasts and forums

This information is available on a secure
on-line environment that works on all computers, smart phones, and mobile
internet devices. For more information, go to igrow.sdstate.edu.

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