Seattle Success: Vision Conference Highlights Bright Future for Precision Agriculture
I’m still basking in the glow of a pretty successful event in Seattle, our third PrecisionAg® Vision Conference, which was a true team event for our parent company, Meister Media. We had involvement from a terrific panel of external advisers to the agenda, and editors from our fruit and vegetable publications also contributed mightily to the final effort.
We started things off with a visit to the campus of Microsoft for a presentation called “IoT for Earth.” We got an inside perspective on the company’s plans to bring more accessible internet access to rural America and valuable tools for collecting and using data. It was mutually beneficial, as the Microsoft engineers got to chat with Vision Conference attendees and get real feedback on the needs of the ag industry.
The Vision Conference itself ran the gauntlet of ideas and issues facing farmers and service providers in the adoption of current and emerging technology. It was fun to be in the middle of it all.
What struck me were the reviews and unsolicited positive comments we received throughout the conference about the content of the program and the caliber of attendees that drove great networking. While I felt like it really was a terrific experience for the audience, I think something more was at play. I think that the delegates in attendance came more prepared and with a better idea of what exactly they were looking for from the conference. It wasn’t that feeling you sometimes get at a conference — that intimidating, blow-your-doors-off feeling of being overwhelmed by what you experienced. People were talking, learning, exchanging ideas. It was serious, and seriously valuable.
For years, I did presentations to audiences about precision agriculture and often got crickets after I had finished. People weren’t comfortable talking about technology that they did not understand or, worse, saw no value in.
Here, people were engaged.
Could we be turning a corner in precision agriculture? Maybe. There is still so much to learn and so many advancements and disruptions ahead. We have to keep the momentum moving forward.
But this year’s Vision Conference experience left me feeling bullish on the future of technology in ag, even as we struggle through some tough times in the early part of 2019.
A side note: Chris Jahn, President of The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and a good friend of Meister, attended the Vision Conference and took some time to speak with us about the InfoAg Conference in July. With the International Plant Nutrition Institute being absorbed into TFI, InfoAg is now a part of TFI.
Chris assured us that it would be business as usual for InfoAg as far as content, scope, and focus in 2019. We value our relationship with the conference, and we’re pleased to continue to be a key partner in its production. We hope to see you in St. Louis this July for the 2019 InfoAg Conference.