Agriculture has become expert at collecting data but continues to fall short of the economic and environmental promise the information bonanza represents. The Sustainability Ag Research Action Team (SARAT) of the National Corn Growers Association has made integrating and managing the wealth of information coming from the farm a priority for 2021.
“Farmers have a ton of data on everything from fertilizer performance to machinery efficiency, but it remains difficult to link it all together in a way that makes sense,” said Randy DeSutter, SARAT chairman. “If farmers can integrate it all together on their own farm so it aids decision-making, then the potential can be realized to become more efficient and more profitable.”
DeSutter is confident information management will only become more powerful in managing machinery, hybrid selection, input timing and overall farm management. However, integrating data from outside the farm is also critical such as in the research field.
He cites the volume of information from phenotyping research as a good example. Determining plant traits and analyzing them creates a lot of data, he said, but the process of collecting, disseminating, and getting it to growers in a useful format will require some standardization.
SARAT will also be launching a Research Ambassadors Program in 2021 geared toward linking researchers directly with farmers. The goal is to establish a network of farmers and researchers with a strong appreciation for challenges on the farm and the kind of research solutions that are necessary.
After the success of the Nourish the Future program in 2020, NCGA will be expanding the initiative with the help of farmer‑funded state corn checkoff programs across the U.S. The program provides excellent teaching resources that have become even more important as teachers tackle online education.
The mission is to teach the ag-based curriculum in the science classroom, inspire students to solve real-world science issues, and inspiring students to fill the job gap in agriculture-related careers, many of which go unfilled.
NCGA is taking a series of actions to do our part to help contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the economic fallout it is creating for corn farmers and our customers. Short term, this means instituting policies to protect the health and safety of our stakeholders and the broader communities we serve. Long term, we’re focused on creating solutions to help corn farmers and our customers recover from the financial impacts of this crisis.
CommonGround is a group of farmers connecting with consumers through conversations about science and research and personal stories about food and misinformation surrounding farming. Supported by the NCGA and state corn organizations.
The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) is a farmer-led initiative that fosters transformation in agriculture through improved soil health. Administered by NCGA the partnership has more than 220 working farms enrolled in 16 states. SHP’s mission is to utilize science and data to partner with farmers who are adopting conservation agricultural practices that improve the economic and environmental sustainability of the farm.