Agriculture Often Requires A Different Perspective

Each winter I make it a point to attend at least one event that I have never attended before. Usually I will pick an event that’s pretty well established so it’s a relatively low risk experience. But this year I stepped out a bit, attending an inaugural meeting in a city to which I had never visited.

The meeting was the Precision Agriculture Summit, held in Jamestown, ND last month. It was hosted by the North Dakota Farmers Union and the Red River Valley Research Corridor, and was held at the Farmers Union’s recently built office and meeting complex, frankly one of the nicest small town meeting halls I’ve seen.

If the attendance, which filled the room to capacity on opening day, was any indication, there’s a lot of pent up desire for information about precision agriculture technology — or at the very least, a lot of farmers thinking about it. I rarely get to be a witness to such events, and it was inspiring to see it happen and to talk to so many terrific people. And I have to give a shout out to Doug the cab driver, who transported me six different times between the hotel, the hall and the airport. I also learned from him a number of ways to insult the opposing German and Scandanavian populations in Jamestown, but you’ll have to go there yourself if you want to hear those jokes. Wish I could have a personal driver in every city.

There were a number of good speakers, but I was most excited to get an opportunity to hear the renowned futurist and economist Lowell Catlet. A lot of the people in the room had experienced a Catlet session over the years, but for whatever reason I had never had that opportunity until this moment.

I was not disappointed. As Catlet likes to say for emphasis with each point made, I “had my doors blown off” multiple times with some of the technologies and concepts he discussed over the course of his 61-minute brain dump. One could only hope to have 10% of the speaking charisma he possesses.

The overarching theme fit really well with CropLife magazine’s issue focus last month, “Making Change in Good Times.” Catlet focused on the search for good ideas and the “next big thing,” or the “Theory of the Long Nose.”
Contrary to what your mom taught you, Catlet advocates poking one’s nose into other industries and businesses to look for existing innovation that could be applied to agriculture.

Speaking to a crowd already primed to talk technology, Catlet spoke at length about the potential of wireless communication, portable technology and cloud computing to make outcomes such as food traceability more widely possible.

He then took it one step further, suggesting that consumers would be able to scan food at the grocery store and not only get information about what is in it and where it came from, but also match its contents to nutritional needs or limitations. Imagine your smartphone saying, “Eh, you don’t need to be eating that, Charlie.” Given the power that smartphone applications deliver to users today, it’s not that big a leap to believe that could be on the horizon.

Before the first rig hits the field this spring, I encourage you to go out and find something to read or attend that stretches your mental boundaries. We all need to get out of our element for a while, and the ideas you find might surprise you.

Leave a Reply

Paul Schrimpf Stories

Corn
OpinionChallenging Global Economic Conditions Putting More Heat On U.S. Ag Retailers
April 7, 2016
There it is. That vague, slightly sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. Things are getting weird out there. Read More
Crop Protection Products in storage
Paul SchrimpfCrop Input Selling: Return Of The Price List
February 2, 2016
It was a good 15 years ago, shortly after I first started writing for this esteemed publication, that it all Read More
Paul SchrimpfWater: Keep Watching
December 12, 2015
Last year about this time — that is, late fall as we put the finishing touches on our editorial calendar Read More
Confluence of St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers in Minnesota
Paul SchrimpfRoads, Rivers, And Rail: Improving Infrastructure At Every Level For Agriculture
November 2, 2015
October is a wonderfully predictable month of naturally recurring cycles here at Meister. Our baseball team draws the curtain on Read More
Trending Articles
Southeast Farmers Coop - Finished Building
Retail FacilitiesNew Stueve Facilities Offer Ag Retailers Speed, Accuracy
July 9, 2016
Leading the industry in planning and constructing dry fertilizer storage and chemical warehouse solutions, Stueve Construction helped three ag retailers Read More
Heritage Cooperative
Retail FacilitiesKahler Automation Designs State-Of-The-Art Facility For Heritage Cooperative
July 4, 2016
Heritage Cooperative in Marysville, OH, needed an efficient liquid, dry and grain facility to serve the many needs of their Read More
The Andersons Waterloo
ManagementFirst Indiana Facility Certified Under 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program
June 27, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that The Andersons, Inc.’s Waterloo, IN, facility has been added to its Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To Explore IT Solutions
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Eric SfiligojWhat’s Next For Monsanto?
May 31, 2016
For the folks at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, MO, it has been an eventful few weeks. Back on May Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Industry NewsMonsanto Rejects Bayer Bid; Open To More Talks
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG’s $62 billion acquisition bid as “incomplete and financially inadequate” Read More
Latest News
FertilizerGypsum Added To List Of Conservation Practices
July 28, 2016
Crop farmers in a growing number of states may be eligible for financial assistance from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Read More
Management2016 CTIC Cover Crop Survey: 33% Report ROI From Cover …
July 28, 2016
Insight from 2,020 farmers from across the country reflected enthusiasm for cover crops and—for the fourth year in a row—found Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesStudy: Fall Weed Controls Can Make Significant Impact O…
July 28, 2016
An article published in the latest issue of the journal Weed Science shows that adopting harvest-time and post-harvest weed controls Read More
InsecticidesSyngenta: Beware Of Early Stinkbug Threat To Soybeans
July 28, 2016
With the record warm temperatures this past winter and confirmations from early entomologist reports, Syngenta encourages growers to monitor stinkbug Read More
Peanut field
Crop InputsVerdesian Introduces New Inoculant For Peanuts
July 28, 2016
As planning begins for the next growing season, Verdesian Life Sciences adds Primo Power CL, a new liquid inoculant, to Read More
Soil Young Corn
Crop InputsSmithsonian: 5 Things to Know About New GMO Labeling Bi…
July 27, 2016
On July 14, the House of Representatives passed a bill requiring large food companies to label products containing genetically modified Read More
Palmer pigweed in soybean stubble
HerbicidesSpecial Issue Of Weed Science Explores Human Aspects Of…
July 27, 2016
Weeds that evolve resistance to herbicides are a serious threat to global agricultural production. In this Special Issue of Weed Science, Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100CHS Businesses In Washington, Idaho Combining For Great…
July 27, 2016
As full-service ag retailers, CHS Primeland and CHS Farmers Co-op collectively serve farmers and other customers in 15 counties in Read More
Storage Tanks at Nachurs
Crop InputsNACHURS Joins Field to Market
July 27, 2016
NACHURS announced today that it has joined Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, a leading multi-stakeholder initiative working Read More
Illinois Researchers
FertilizerMeasure Of Age In Soil Nitrogen Could Help Precision Ag…
July 26, 2016
What’s good for crops is not always good for the environment. Nitrogen, a key nutrient for plants, can cause problems Read More
Kochia
Crop InputsNufarm Launches New Herbicide for Resistant Kochia
July 25, 2016
Nufarm introduces Scorch herbicide for U.S. farmers and ranchers combating a broad range of troublesome broadleaf weeds. A unique premix Read More
ManagementNew Rabobank Report Calls for Farmer ROI Focus
July 25, 2016
As U.S. row crop farmers brace themselves for a third year of negative margins, Rabobank believes farmers must lower the Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsBloomberg: Syngenta-Chem China Deal on Track for Regula…
July 25, 2016
Syngenta AG, which has agreed to be taken over by China National Chemical Corp. for $43 billion, said talks with Read More
ManagementGROWMARK Meeting Visit, Company Takeover Updates, and R…
July 22, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent speaking engagement at GROWMARK’s eastern event, crop protection company merger rumors, Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto: EU Approves Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Imports
July 22, 2016
Monsanto Co. announced today that the European Commission has granted import approval for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans. This milestone Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop InputsSyngenta Announces Alfalfa Seed Split Off
July 22, 2016
On September 1, 2016, Syngenta will transfer sales and distribution of alfalfa seed to the NEXGROW branded business that is Read More
Dow DuPont
Crop InputsDuPont, Dow Shareholders Approve Merger
July 21, 2016
DuPont and The Dow Chemical Company announced that, at their respective special meetings of stockholders held today, stockholders of both Read More
ManagementLand O’Lakes Announces SUSTAIN Business Unit, Oth…
July 20, 2016
Land O’Lakes, Inc. today announced the formal organization of a new business unit, SUSTAIN, and its leadership. SUSTAIN will focus Read More