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CDO: The new job on the farm

04/05/2013 @ 9:20am

Bits and bytes are flying around farms. That’s the impression I get from talking with farmers and industry experts -- especially after attending a number of farm shows over the winter.

Some farmers’ heads are spinning. Some producers are excited for all of the technology development. Some growers are somewhere in between.

Successful Farming magazine editors are helping to clear the air. Advanced Technology Editor Laurie Bedord has done two insightful articles: “Dance With Data” on page 42 in the March issue and the piece in this issue, “Unlocking Data,” on page 32.

One thing is clear: The amount of data is growing. I suspect the velocity will grow, as well.

Kevin Dhuyvetter, a professor in agricultural economics at Kansas State University, said at a recent presentation that “we’re at the beginning of a new frontier”: big data and precision agriculture. The Wall Street Journal did a story recently titled “Data Crunchers Now the Cool Kids on Campus.”

With all of that data flying around, perhaps it’s time to start looking ahead. Maybe there’s a need for a Chief Data Officer for your farm.

Someone who can:

  • Make it easy. Acquire and organize the data from all of your connected devices(machinery, grain bins, irrigation systems) and handheld devices.
  • Make sense of it. Help create some context for the data.
  • Make you smarter. Help analyze and evaluate the data.

The key to the data is not precision technology; it’s decision technology.

Use technology to gain information to make your operation more efficient -- more profitable.

Here’s to a successful spring!

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