Big Data Yields Big Opportunities in Agriculture

Posted by Stephanie Pearl, Science Communicator, National Institute of Food and Agriculture in

Research and Science

Jul 17, 2017

Farmers and ranchers are increasingly using technology to get up-to-the-minute information on weather, best management practices for fertilizer use and pest management, and more. (iStock image)

(NIFA is accepting proposals for conferences to identify opportunities and bottlenecks in generating, managing, and integrating data within the food and agricultural system. NIFA will also consider research proposals that apply or enhance big data activities and efforts. Applications submitted to the 2017 Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Foundational Program will be accepted through the deadlines as specified for specific program areas.)

We live in an age in which large volumes of information—“big data”—are generated and collected rapidly to add value to our daily lives. Industry has harnessed data to target advertising, tailor medical treatments, and even develop the technology and infrastructure that allows us to carry miniature computers in our pockets that will pause active functions to accept incoming phone calls.

The agricultural community wants to use big data to help farmers make decisions that will increase yields and deliver safe, nutritious food to communities around the world. Researchers and farmers use predictive modeling to identify best management practices for getting the best crop and livestock performance under various environmental conditions. To make the most accurate predictions, models based on even the most advanced machine learning algorithms must be rooted in…

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