We're putting the finishing touches on the annual PrecisionAg Buyer's Guide that will be published next month. If you'd like one, drop me a line (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your address and I will be happy to send it when it's ready. Anyway, it's also the second year that the Guide will feature an "Experts" section where we ask folks much smarter than us (and in some cases better looking) to weigh in on the biggest opportunities and challenges that growers, retailers and consultants face in bringing ag technology to full and robust use.
Not surprisingly, data standardization and it's little brother, equipment compatibility, came up time and again as a significant challenge. One of our experts, Bruce Baier, precision ag poduct manager at retailer Ag Partners, LLC in Sioux City, IA, shared this thought:
"In order for the analysis of the information to occur we have to make further progress in the AgGateway and AgConnectivity initiatives. Industry hardware and software companies have made some progress in the last few years, but nothing is more frustrating than trying to transfer data into and out of various machines and software. The need for a common structure on handling inputs, as well as the need to become more efficient in the transfer of data, are real."
Coincidentally, the AgGateway mid-year meeting is happening this week, and I've been getting calls from the meeting that things are progressing, albiet slowly, towards the construction of data standards in precision agriculture. AgGateway is the umbrella group that is working with agriculture stakeholders to facilitate the creation of data standards in virtually all areas of agriculture, from seed to fertilizer and crop protection to feed, and most recently precision agriculture.
An important issue it has is the need to get as many stakeholders in the room as possible. I know we have some retail readers of this blog, and I would encourage you to at least explore the possibility of getting involved in the discussion. I spent about a year working on committees and observing what they're doing, and I believe that this will result in data standards in the not too distant future. So now is the time to get yourself involved and be part of the process.
Visit www.aggateway.org for more information, or give Marylin Hunter a call at 202-742-5967.