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Digital Agriculture: The Future is Now

DES MOINES, Iowa ( -- Digital agriculture is here and will continue to advance production farming in the U.S. and worldwide.

“The world is digitized, and we’re going to see the same digitization on the farm,” said Michael Stern of Climate Corporation. On Thursday at the World Food Prize, a panel of representatives weighed in on precision technology that is helping farmers work more efficiently without producing more waste.

At Climate Corporation, technology is developed based on field measurements, and developers are working closely with growers to understand how they can effectively use this technology. Accurate weather data continues to be an asset for farmers, but creating weather resources for underdeveloped countries is a big challenge. Cell phones are an incredible resource for farmers worldwide and will continue to advance precision agriculture.

Embracing technology, like GPS, on a realistic scale is the responsible approach to helping global agriculture according to Cory Reed, vice president of the John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group. “It’s about easier-to-use technology, smart technology, and more precise use of the machinery and tools used today,” said Reed.

For the livestock industry, big data is also an incredible resource. “Technology innovation is the solution for productivity, and productivity is the solution for sustainability,” said Jose Simas of Elanco. The company is able to create reports based on data submitted by customers to share effective practices with other producers.

“We are on the cusp of the next innovation wave of digital agriculture.”

The fertilizer industry is well aware that it needs to adapt and improve as technology continues to revolutionize farming. Access to effective fertilizers is an “enormous issue” for underdeveloped countries, according to Benjamin Pratt of Mosaic Company. Creating a product that can be produced at scale and that is affordable for all farmers is the real challenge the industry faces.

Reed believes there is a tremendous opportunity for technology to be known and used worldwide with the communication channels available today. For farmers with access, collecting data on a small scale is a great way to evaluate areas for improvement on a farm.

“We are on the cusp of the next innovation wave of digital agriculture,” said Stern, who is looking forward to pushing out benchmarking technologies in the near future to help farmers evaluate how they are doing.

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See More: Seed Security a Top Issue at World Food Prize Forum, New Approaches to Feeding a Hungry World, and Food Growth Rate Remains Stagnant.

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