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

Bayer Monsanto
Eric SfiligojBayer-Monsanto: Life, LibertyLink, And The Pursuit Of Regulatory Approval
March 20, 2017
As the calendar officially turns to spring, life is in full renewal mode. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Eric SfiligojFungicide Resistance On The Horizon
March 13, 2017
For many years now, the agricultural market has struggled to keep ahead of an ever-growing number of herbicide-resistant weeds. According Read More
Comodity Classic 2017 overview
Eric SfiligojCommodity Classic 2017: Growers’ Three Wishes
March 6, 2017
Last week, I had the chance to attend the annual Commodity Classic show in San Antonio, TX. Drawing some 10,000 Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Eric SfiligojCrop Protection Mergers: Plan B Or Not Plan B, That Is The Question
March 2, 2017
These past few months, many people that regularly follow the agricultural marketplace have been preoccupied with the numerous merger proposals Read More
Trending Articles
AdjuvantsA New Weed-Control Era Begins: But First, One Last Obstacle
March 4, 2017
There is trepidation, there is reluctance, and there is excitement. Ag retailers feel it all about the new dicamba and Read More
LIFT Academy video screenshot
Crop InputsLIFT Agriculture Academy: A Q&A With West Central Distribution’s Dean Hendrickson
March 1, 2017
West Central Distribution recently launched its LIFT Agriculture Academy, a new, premiere training and professional development resource for West Central’s ag Read More
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little 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
Latest News
UncategorizedPrecision Ag, Iowa Water, and GM Corn Updates
March 24, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj look at the state of precision agriculture, the dismissal of the Des Moines Water Read More
Pam Marrone
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Enters Biostimulants Market Wit…
March 23, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. is expanding beyond biopesticides and crop protection and into the biostimulant market by commercially launching Haven Read More
Nutrients for Life Foundation Teacher
FertilizerNutrients For Life Foundation Celebrates 10 Years Teach…
March 23, 2017
Those in agriculture know fertilizer is a vital ingredient to grow strong, productive crops. In fact, fertilizer is responsible for Read More
ManagementThink You Know Water? Take WinField United’s R…
March 22, 2017
Water is among our most precious resources, and arguably the hardest working, with just one percent available for human use, Read More
Corn Field
LegislationTFI Hopes Court Dismissal Is ‘Final Chapter’…
March 20, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) released the following statement from President, Chris Jahn on the March 17, 2017, federal court dismissal Read More
Wheat Growers
Industry NewsWheat Growers CEO Dale Locken To Retire
March 20, 2017
CEO Dale Locken has announced that he plans to retire from Wheat Growers. Locken has served almost 15 years as Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Eric SfiligojBayer-Monsanto: Life, LibertyLink, And The Pursuit Of R…
March 20, 2017
As the calendar officially turns to spring, life is in full renewal mode. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and Read More
Corn Field
Crop InputsUltra Yield Micronutrients Acquires Kronos Micronutrien…
March 16, 2017
Ultra Yield Micronutrients, Inc. ”Ultra”, an affiliate of Cameron Chemicals, Inc., is pleased to announce that it has acquired the Read More
ManagementSnowstorms, Asset Sales, and Soybeans Prices
March 16, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the weather, precision ag, crop protection company mergers, and commodity prices in this Read More
Soybean Field
Seed/BiotechBayer Invests $8.1 million In Soybean Advancement In Th…
March 16, 2017
Growers in Illinois and across the Midwest now have the added benefit of a state-of-the-art soybean research facility, increasing accessibility Read More
CHS
CropLife 100CHS Acquires Western Co-op Transport Association
March 16, 2017
CHS Inc., North America’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, has purchased Western Co-op Transport Read More
Young corn plants in soil
HerbicidesBest Management Practices To Control PPO-Resistant Weed…
March 14, 2017
Weeds resistant to the class of herbicides called protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) inhibitors are spreading at a faster rate than weed Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Eric SfiligojFungicide Resistance On The Horizon
March 13, 2017
For many years now, the agricultural market has struggled to keep ahead of an ever-growing number of herbicide-resistant weeds. According Read More
Management2017 Commodity Classic Review
March 10, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss what happened at the recent Commodity Classic in San Antonio. Read More
Farmer using AgriSync
ManagementMajor AgriSync Update Aims To Extend Ag Experts’ Power …
March 10, 2017
AgriSync announced a major update to its leading collaboration and service management tool for professional ag advisors and their farmer Read More
Agrible Pocket Spray Smart App
EquipmentNew Agrible Pocket Spray Smart App Alleviates Spraying …
March 10, 2017
There’s a new app to help farmers decide when to spray their fields. Pocket Spray Smart is a free iOS Read More
BPIA logo
Crop InputsBiological Products Trade Association Changes Name, Exp…
March 9, 2017
The Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA), formerly the BioPesticide Industry Alliance, is the new name of the rapidly growing U.S.-based Read More
BBI MagnaSpread Salford BBI
Equipment14 Fertilizer Spreaders For 2017
March 9, 2017
Application equipment manufacturers stressed flexibility and accuracy with this year’s crop of fertilizer spreaders. From AGCO’s TerraGator TG9300B and Case IH’s 810 Read More