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Posted 28 December 2015. PMN Crop News.

Soy Industry Leaders Discuss Big Data Implications

Source: Illinois Soybean Association Press Release.

Bloomington, Illinois (December 7, 2015)--The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) welcomed farmers and agricultural industry leaders last week to its biannual Soy 2020 roundtable for a discussion about big data and its implications for the future of agriculture.


Ron Moore, American Soybean Association (ASA) board member from Roseville, Ill., kicked off the event. He talked about ASA's current initiatives looking at balancing transparency and privacy with big data. Moore says while big data has the potential to improve farm performance and efficiency, privacy is most important. ASA is working toward establishing security principals for dealing with data now and in the future.

Joe Somers, Informa Economics, presented an overview of big data. Somers describe it using "five Vs" -- volume, variety, velocity, veracity and value. He discussed how the future of developing technology will bring changes to tools, resources, markets and relationships.

On the technical front, Caroline Bremer of The Climate Corporation looked at how data is collected from the cab of a tractor or combine. She shared examples of imagery and data she has collected, explaining how farmers use the data to make better decisions.

Ken Dalenberg, farmer from Mansfield, Ill., and a leader in precision agriculture, wrapped up the morning with a discussion about how he uses data on his farm. Dalenberg sees big data as a promising tool for easier decision-making with more calculated outcomes and predictability.

Participants talked about education being the barrier to entry for many farmers and industry leaders interested in precision farming and using big data. Several farmers at the event noted they are intimidated by the new technology, and look to industry leaders for guidance.

"The roundtable was very insightful," says Daryl Cates, soybean farmer from Columbia, Ill., and ISA chairman. "I was able to learn more about big data and what different industry and farmer leaders think will help soybean production. ISA strives to educate farmers about big data and how it can help us in the future."

The ISA represents more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois through state soybean checkoff and membership efforts. The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and profitability research, promotion, issues management and analysis, communications and education. Membership and advocacy efforts support Illinois soybean farmersí interests in local areas, Springfield and Washington, D.C. ISA programs are designed to ensure Illinois soy is the highest quality, most dependable, sustainable and competitive in the global marketplace. For more information, visit the website

Amy Roady