ACTION SUMMIT:Highlighting agricultural innovationAgricultural innovation will be one of the highlights at the inaugural Precision Ag Summit on Jan. 16-17 at the North Dakota Farmers Union (NDFU) Conference Center in Jamestown, N. D.
By: Alan Van Ormer, Prairie Business Magazine
"This is a very unique event, arguably, the first of its kind in the nation. The focus is specific with all sessions targeted toward agricultural producers,” states Dr. Paul Gunderson, President of the Dakota Precision Agriculture Center located on the Lake Region State College campus in Devils Lake, N. D. “Other meetings have been held that have gathered engineers, soil scientists, human factor ergonomists, etc., however this meeting provides a singular opportunity for producers from the Midwest and high plains to explore these technologies and their potential application within agricultural enterprises. “
Lanny Faleide, President of Agri ImaGIS Technologies in central North Dakota, will emphasis the future of agriculture adapting technology through a mobile environment. “We’re waiting for the ag industry to embrace the mobile phenomenon,” he says. “I am not sure that growers understand where it is going. It will be an interesting change.”
Faleide started Agri ImaGIS Technologies almost 18 years ago. The company’s main focus has been remote sensing, in particular, accessing imagery from satellites and aerial sensors to take images of a farm field to evaluate the growth potential of crops and what is going in that field throughout the year.
“Precision ag is about targeting the different areas in the field by using technology managing areas in most efficient role that you can,” he states.
Dr. Gunderson has had a long career conducting research into the human health impacts of North American agriculture. He has held tenured faculty posts at Ball State University (Muncie, Indiana) and the School of Public Health within the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, Minnesota). Other faculty engagements include The University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. He is currently conducting research into the movement of agricultural inputs such as fertilizer and antimicrobials within calcareous high plains soil into groundwater, and the fiscal, environmental, and human health impacts of adoption of precision agriculture technologies within agricultural enterprises.
The Center was established under North Dakota’s Center of Excellence initiative to foster high quality research, respond to private-sector need for product-related research and development, and contribute to a quality environment for technological job development with North Dakota.
His research suggests that precision agriculture technologies, when systematically implemented, can contribute positively to the functioning bottom line of high plains agricultural enterprises, precision agriculture technologies could reduce North Dakota agricultural producer’s use of nitrogen fertilizer by as much as 16 percent, depending on soil, crop, and management conditions, thereby lessening the environmental impact of nitrate movement into our nation’s streams, lakes, and rivers, and precision agriculture technologies hold the promise of reducing fatigue, spinal exposure, and stress associated with day-to-day operation of agricultural equipment (and trucks) within crop field conditions.
Another extension specialist, John Nowatzki, a North Dakota State University Agricultural Machine Systems Specialist, notes that technologies are catching on quickly because of the savings. “Precision ag has an impact on society,” he states. “The impact for farmers is either more profit or convenience. There is also an environmental protection for society.
As an extension specialist, Nowatzki takes the research to the farming community. More than two-thirds of his work is specifically related to agriculture machinery, in particular, focusing on the applications of fertilizers, section control and nozzle control on sprayers for farmers in the field.
“The summit is a good idea. Farmers will attend as long as the information shared is something they don’t already know,” Nowatzki states. “Secondly, they will look at the presenters and see if they are experts in the field. I think that is important because these farmers are well educated and technologically advanced.” PB
Alan Van Ormer - firstname.lastname@example.org
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