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iGrow provides tailored information for South Dakota farmers

Gil Gullickson 05/17/2011 @ 4:01pm Crops Technology Editor for Successful Farming magazine/Agriculture.com

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:

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