Science and data FTW at World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit


The goal is the blow our minds in the agricultural technology space — and the whole of the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit, which began on virtual platforms today, is geared toward celebrating science and data for farmers both large and small. The two-day event included a wide range of opportunities to network and learn, including 1-on-1 meetings, roundtable discussions, and lots of presentations on the agri-food system.

Much of the focus was slated to be on strengthening the food-supply chain and helping to propel the agricultural industry toward and net zero carbon impact. In short, giving already-sustainably-minded producers even more tools to engage in responsible food production.

Barely two weeks into his second stint as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack gave the opening remarks at the summit. He stated that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s origins were rooted in science, and he sees that as the path forward for this sector.

Today, he said, we need to use “science and data-driven decision-making to expand access to productivity.”

That can happen through the on-farm strategies we employ or through national farm policy, he noted. 

Vilsack spoke specifically of the challenges brought forth by the pandemic in terms of food supply, the science needed to improve and advance animal health, as well as growing challenges that the climate with bring. 

“There’s pressure on American agriculture and global agriculture to produce more with less — pressure because of climate, pressure because we’re facing more inclement weather, along with droughts, more severe floods, more severe storms, and more pressing diseases. It will be science and data that will help us deal with those challenges.”

That can come in the form of new seed technology and drought-resistant crops, and, he said, through vertical farming systems, which can tap into targeted lighting systems to grow crops faster. He also highlighted precision technologies such as drones and sensors, which can be a dynamic path forward for the industry.

The World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit is continuing onward, with lots more discussion on these vital ag topics. Major agricultural companies — such as Bayer, Koch Agronomic Services, Syngenta, and BASF — are all helping to contribute to this educational and informational effort.

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