PrecisionAg announces 2017 Awards of Excellence winners


Four industry standouts have proven they did precision agriculture precisely right. PrecisionAg Institute is pleased to announce its 2017 Awards of Excellence winners, recognized for their exceptional commitment to precision agriculture, their passionate devotion to careers in the industry, and for setting the stage for increased precision adoption and significant innovation.

This year’s award winners will be honored during the opening plenary session at the InfoAg Conference in St. Louis, MO, July 25-27, 2017.

Crop Advisor/Entrepreneur of the Year – Wade Barnes, CEO, Farmers Edge, Winnipeg, MB Canada

Barnes, CEO and President of Farmers Edge, co-founded the company because he believed in the value of variable rate technology, using satellite imagery, and remote sensing technology to add efficiency and sustainability to farming.Barnes’ dream was initialized in a basement office with two employees. He has held on to his ambition in the face of continuing challenges to the business in the early growth years, adding locations, services, and staff, while continuously defining and redefining roles to meet objectives.

“While Farmers Edge has new key investors, a new organizational structure, new partners, and management to meet these demands, Barnes continues to steer the ship with his focus on innovation in the industry,” said Dawn Peter, a Farmers Edge employee and sponsor for Barnes’ award nomination. “He is well advised by his investors and Board of Directors, and he leads with knowledge and passion for his field.”

Legacy Award – Dr. Paul E. Fixen, International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), Brookings, South Dakota

Fixen, recently retired as Senior Vice President at IPNI, coordinated Institute programs in the Americas and Oceania and directed the Institute’s research efforts. A highlight of Fixen’s research experiences was leading a team at South Dakota State University that made substantial progress in understanding the role and requirement of chloride in crop production in the central and northern Great Plains and Prairies. Fixen’s career has emphasized the science of nutrient stewardship and how soil fertility and the use of fertilizer fit into the overall scheme of crop production systems and the environment. Fixen has authored 300+ articles related to nutrient management, including several book chapters, and developed and taught popular courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Fluid Fertilizer Foundation. Fixen has served as Chair of SSSA Div. S-8, as Associate Editor of the Soil Science Society of America Journal, and is the 2016 President of ASA. He also has served on numerous boards, academic and agency review panels, and industry committees.

Educator/Researcher of the Year – Dr. Joe Luck, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), Lincoln, Nebraska

Luck is an Associate Professor and Precision Agriculture Engineer in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. As an educator, Luck constantly seeks tools and methods to best instruct and convey information. He is well published, with 31 peer-reviewed articles, 10 extension publications, and 21 learning guides centered on technology and site-specific management concepts. His signature Extension program is the Precision Agriculture Data Management Workshops that he developed, which the UNL Extension delivers to producers and consultants each year. This program focuses on farm data management, teaching participants about utilizing farm data to drive decisions and prescriptions at the field level.

According to John Fulton, Associate Professor at The Ohio State University and Luck’s sponsor for this nomination, “Joe represents a new generation of educators and leaders for precision agriculture. He is an advocate for agriculture and promotes the use of precision agriculture to improve the farm operation while reducing environmental impacts.”

Educator/Researcher of the Year – Dr. Harold van Es, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

A professor of Soil Science at Cornell University, van Es established Cornell’s Computational Agriculture Initiative, which focused on the development of high resolution climate data and a model-based nitrogen management tool. This work later resulted in Adapt-N, a cloud-based, real-time nitrogen management tool. Through Adapt-N, precision nitrogen management offers win-win opportunities through higher profitability for farmers and significantly reduced environmental impacts from leaching and denitrification.

“Dr. van Es has made significant contributions by educating students and agricultural and environmental professionals on spatial statistics, field research methods, soil health, and the opportunities around precision agriculture,” said Timothy L. Setter, Chair, Section of Soil and Crop Sciences at Cornell University and sponsor of Dr. van Es’ award nomination.

“Since 2007, the PrecisionAg Awards of Excellence has honored 43 individuals and organizations for exceptional work in precision agriculture research, adoption, and business management,” says Paul Schrimpf, Executive Editor of PrecisionAg and manager of the PrecisionAg Institute. “We, along with our PrecisionAg Institute Partner Organizations, are pleased to bring their stories of success to light, and hope they inspire those who are working to improve ag technology use and adoption today, and in the future.”

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