The InfoAg Connection

In the wake of the largest InfoAg Conference ever, it is a good time to emphasize the importance of this event and precision agriculture to the fertilizer industry. Since 1995, the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) has partnered with CropLife Media Group and PAQ Interactive to put together a biennial gathering of manufacturers, retailers, researchers (industry and university), advisers and consultants, producers and policymakers within the precision ag industry. The conference has become the premier event to discuss and view applied precision agriculture technology.

The question that gets asked is “Why does IPNI, a fertilizer industry-supported organization, invest so much time and so many resources into a conference focused largely on technology and information management?” The answer relates to IPNI’s organizational mission.

The mission of IPNI is “to develop and promote scientific information about the responsible management of plant nutrition for the benefit of the human family.” Responsible management refers to following 4R Nutrient Stewardship, which is applying the right nutrient source at the right rate, at the right time, and in the right place. Management decisions are made within the context of the cropping system and will work toward meeting economic, environmental and social goals of a sustainable agricultural system.

The 4Rs are interconnected and must be considered holistically as any change made to one factor affects, and is affected by, the other three. The complexity of this puzzle can only be solved using the tools, technologies and information management strategies that are found in precision agriculture.

Playing A Key Role

In his keynote address at the 11th International Conference on Precision Agriculture, Dr. Newell Kitchen, USDA-ARS, highlighted the significant role that nutrient management plays in the precision agriculture industry. “Nutrient management has been a starting point, the seedbed of a lot of the concepts where we got going [in precision agriculture].” He noted that in the early years of the conference, as many as 70% of the papers presented dealt with nutrient management.

Nutrient management has continued to be one of the drivers of technology development and adoption as evidenced by more than 70% of the dealers responding to the most recent CropLife/Purdue University Precision Agriculture Survey indicating that they offer variable-rate fertilizer applications. This number is projected to increase to 80% by 2016.

The linkage between nutrient stewardship and precision agriculture goes beyond simply managing inputs. Precision agriculture tools facilitate and enhance the feedback and recordkeeping necessary for the accountability that is needed in nutrient management. The inclusion of accountability is another example of how 4R stewardship moves beyond traditional nutrient management.

One of the main ways this is accomplished is through the inclusion of a dynamic feedback mechanism. In the past, nutrient management has been linear, mostly from the top down, with no feedback nor any assessment of changes in practice. 4R nutrient stewardship provides the framework for stakeholder involvement at the farm, regional, and policy-making levels and precision agriculture tools can provide feedback to all of these positions. The use of performance indicators as an objective evaluation of management practices, which can increase the level of accountability that is important to most all stakeholders, can also be done more accurately and effectively using precision agriculture technologies.

Integrating precision agriculture and 4R Nutrient Stewardship enhances our ability to meet the sustainability goals of crop production systems. As more growers adopt precision technologies for guidance, variable-rate control, data collection and information management, their ability to apply the right nutrient source, at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place increases considerably. This integration also enhances feedback among stakeholders and increases the confidence that the economic, environmental and social challenges that face agricultural production can be viewed as opportunities to further advance nutrient management.

Connecting The Dots

In addition to the jigsaw puzzle that is the 4Rs, InfoAg also helps solve another type of puzzle — connecting the dots. In this case, the “dots” are people. InfoAg was started as a way to bring together vendors and practitioners of precision ag technologies. Building and fostering these relationships remains one of the greatest attributes of the conference today. Social media is one of our most valuable communication tools for sharing information, but following each other on Twitter doesn’t result in the depth or quality of the relationships that face-to-face time at InfoAg can accomplish.

The goal of a connect-the-dots puzzle is to create a picture. InfoAg creates a picture of partnerships. Connecting the right people at the InfoAg conference creates the partnerships that are necessary to overcome the obstacles production agriculture will face in the coming decades.

Successful partnerships are synergistic. InfoAg participants represent such a variety of expertise and a diversity of skill sets that one plus one at this conference equals five rather than two. Producing the food, feed, fiber and fuel needed to sustain a population projected to surpass nine billion people by 2050, is not a task that science, technology, or policy can accomplish alone. This massive challenge will only be met by the synergy created at InfoAg — partnerships that combine the accuracy of science, the precision of technology and the support of policy.

In a response to the challenges ahead and feedback from participants, InfoAg will leave its traditional biennial format and become an annual event beginning in the summer of 2014. The next InfoAg will be held July 29-31 at the Union Station Hilton in downtown St. Louis, MO. Stay informed by visiting www.infoag.org and following @InfoAg.

Leave a Reply

One comment on “The InfoAg Connection

  1. That was very insightful. I had no idea there were some organizations and partnerships involved in agriculture. It has open my eyes to a whole new perspective. I think I will explore the organizations and join one.

Opinion Stories

ARA
Eric SfiligojTaking The Industry’s Pulse At ARA
November 28, 2016
When most of you read this particular column, many of the industry’s key folks will probably be spending at least Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Eric SfiligojCrop Protection Mergers: Will They Or Won’t They?
November 14, 2016
Fall is in full swing and many sports fans probably spend the better parts of their time looking at the Read More
Eric Sfiligoj2017 Agricultural Outlook Not As Dire?
November 7, 2016
As 2016 heads towards its conclusion, there are many of us in the agricultural marketplace already looking forward to what Read More
Deere R4023 cab
Paul SchrimpfA Clearer Vision In Precision Ag
November 1, 2016
When our team conceived of the PrecisionAg Vision Conference more than a year ago, we had a few essential ideas about Read More
Trending Articles
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsanto Merger
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
STS16 2017
SprayersHagie Manufacturing Releases 2017 STS16 Sprayer To Market
November 16, 2016
Hagie Manufacturing LLC’s largest full season applicator is now available with enhancements for the 2017 model year. Hagie is officially Read More
Wilco
CropLife 100Valley Agronomics, Wilco-Winfield To Form New Agronomy Joint Venture
November 11, 2016
Valley Agronomics LLC, headquartered in Rupert, ID, is a joint venture between Valley Wide Cooperative and Winfield Solutions, LLC. Wilco-Winfield, Read More
FertilizerThe Fertilizer Institute Issues Statement On The U.S. Elections
November 10, 2016
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President Chris Jahn has issued the following statement on the results of the 2016 elections: “TFI Read More
Latest News
ManagementCorn and soy planting update; Takeaways from Climate Co…
December 2, 2016
AgriBusiness Global Editor Dave Frabotta Joins Paul Schrimpf for a discussion of global corn and soybean planting trends, and a Read More
Radish cover crop taproot
Crop InputsSoil Health Institute, Datu Research Receive Grant To E…
December 1, 2016
The Soil Health Institute (SHI) and Datu Research has announced a $626,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to quantify Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
ManagementAg Industry Comes Together To Address Climate Change
December 1, 2016
Addressing climate change — and more specifically, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture — can only be achieved through collective Read More
Young soybean field
HerbicidesLiquid Formulation Valor EZ Herbicide Available For 201…
December 1, 2016
Valent U.S.A. Corp. has released Valor EZ; a liquid formulation of the company’s leading herbicide, Valor. Named Valor EZ Herbicide Read More
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
ManagementThe Value Of Cooperatives In Modern Agriculture
December 1, 2016
Editor’s Note: Jaxon Mullinnix of  Lone Tree, IA, was recently named the Iowa state winner of the 2017 GROWMARK essay Read More
AGCO Operator of the Year Tony Kornder
SprayersAGCO Names Tony Kornder Operator Of The Year
December 1, 2016
AGCO Corp. names Tony Kornder with Genesis Growing Solutions in Le Sueur, MN, the 11th annual Operator of the Year. Read More
Chris Henney OABA
ManagementOABA Industry Conference To Provide Outlook For Future …
November 29, 2016
The upcoming Ohio AgriBusiness Association Industry Conference is packed with widely-respected speakers and industry professionals, sharing their expertise on a Read More
Corn
InsecticidesMajor Review Finds Neonic Poses Low Risk To Aquatic Inv…
November 28, 2016
A major new ecotoxicological review and risk assessment has been published in the peer-reviewed literature and concluded that registered crop Read More
EquipmentGSI Details New Grain Drying Efficiency System for Coop…
November 28, 2016
Grain elevators and ag co-ops are always looking for ways to increase their energy efficiency to help improve profitability. For Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
AGCO AgControl system
Precision AgPrecision Ag Technology: Rate Control For The Times
November 28, 2016
It’s not surprising that the need for more economical, effective application is driving the demand for the latest rate controllers Read More
ARA
Eric SfiligojTaking The Industry’s Pulse At ARA
November 28, 2016
When most of you read this particular column, many of the industry’s key folks will probably be spending at least Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls …
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
FertilizerNutrient Management, Conservation Among Topics Covered …
November 23, 2016
Certified crop advisers, consultants, farmers, agribusiness professionals and students will learn more about nutrient management, soil and water conservation, pest Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsa…
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
Arysta LifeScience
Crop InputsArysta LifeScience Forms Alliance With Beem Biologics
November 21, 2016
As part of its recently announced strategy to become a leader in high-value, high-growth specialty market segments in the crop Read More
DuPont sign
Crop InputsDuPont To End Pension Contribution For Active Employees
November 18, 2016
DuPont will no longer contribute to active employees’ pension plans, a move that will affect the retirement of 13,000 workers, Read More