Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), Acting Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, held a hearing to educate members about innovations in agricultural imagery and technology. This is the second hearing in a series examining Big Data and its role in agriculture. The subcommittee heard from a variety of stakeholders about using satellites, manned airplanes, and Unmanned Aerial Systems (drones) as a way to collect imagery that farmers can leverage to make better business and conservation decisions for their farms. As technology continues to evolve, the witnesses stressed the importance of maintaining the privacy of individual farmers and ranchers and ensuring that their data is protected.
“Imagery was one of the first forms of Big Data in agriculture, and it serves as the foundation for a host of other innovations. Whether it’s satellites, airplanes or drones, each of these tools has a role to play and farmers can choose the product that best fits their needs. With that imagery, farmers are able to see maps of their fields and make better decisions about how they manage their farm, including decisions about fertilizing more efficiently, addressing pests and disease, and timeliness of planting and harvest. Imagery is the foundation for precision agriculture, and the innovations we heard about today are building blocks for more improvements to come,” said Acting Subcommittee Chairman Frank Lucas.
“American farmers and ranchers are utilizing technology to produce more and better food and fiber products with fewer inputs than ever before. While the imagery and mapping technology we discussed today paves the way for additional increases in farm productivity and efficiency, it continues to be the foundation on which we administer our farm and conservation programs. I appreciate today’s panel of witnesses for sharing their expertise on this important topic, and I look forward to continuing to explore the role of Big Data in agriculture,” said Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway.
Mr. Lanny Faleide, President, Satshot, Inc., Fargo, ND
Mr. Craig Molander, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Surdex Corporation, Chesterfield, MO
Dr. Christopher Dombrowski, Chief Technology Officer, TerrAvion, Inc., San Leandro, CA
Mr. Robert Blair, Farmer/ VP Agriculture, Measure, Kendrick, ID