Virtual Event: Unlocking the Agricultural Data Revolution

Minneapolis, MN

Session Description

Join our discussion on how agricultural data is transformed into information and decision-making through novel approaches for data analysis while managing and maintaining privacy and protection for the farmers and consumers whose data are being utilized.  This event builds upon the Agricultural Data Privacy meeting, held in San Antonio in November 2019, which kicked off this broader effort and collaboration.

Save the Date Flyer


    Why agricultural data?

    AGRICULTURE forms the backbone of human survival and well-being. It is one of the largest drivers of natural resource use and impact on the environment. As we have seen during the recent pandemic, our agriculture and food systems are critically important.

    DATA are enabling us to better serve everyone from farmers, to consumers, to the environment, creating a world that is sustainable and healthy. Building for the future requires significant shifts in how we digitize and utilize data. 




    Registration closes at 5:00PM CT on Sept 18. This event is open to the many people who work in agriculture and food, and those interested in data and innovative research across disciplines:

    • Farmers
    • Researchers
    • Private companies
    • NGOs
    • Government agencies
    • And others!


    Thursday, September 24, 2020: Data Research and Outcomes
    Opening remarks (10am CT)
    • Dean John Coleman, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota
    • Dean Brian Buhr, College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Minnesota
    • Dean Karen Plaut, College of Agriculture, Purdue University
    • Executive Director Sally Rockey, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) 

    The “burning platform” - what’s at stake for agriculture and data? (10:30am CT)

    • Ranveer Chandra, Chief Scientist, Microsoft Farmbeats
    • Dorn Cox, Farmer & Researcher, Wolfe’s Neck, OpenTEAM 
    Break (11:00am CT)

    Building sustainability and resilience: the role of data (11:30am CT)

    • Kellee James, Founder & CEO, Mercaris
    • Steve Rosenzweig, Soil Scientist, General Mills
    • Meredith Ellis, Rancher, G Bar C Ranch
    • Amanda Raster, Program Manager, U.S. Farm and Ranchers in Action (moderator)

    Integrating data in a private partnership: the case of the PIP consortia for indoor plants (12:00pm CT)

    • Roger Buelow, Chief Technology Officer, AeroFarms
    • Mohammed Oufattole, Vice President of Research & Development, Benson Hill
    • Steve Graves, Vice President of Business Development, Fluence
    • John Reich, Scientific Program Director, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (moderator)
    Break (12:20pm CT)

    Ideation breakouts on key topics (12:35pm and 1:25pm CT)

    • Imagine what’s possible by sharing interoperable data - Phil Pardey, Professor, University of Minnesota 
    • Analyze this - data analytic techniques - Senait Senay, Researcher & Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota
    • Improving sustainable agriculture production with data - Steve Rosenzweig, Soil Scientist, General Mills
    • Collaborating and creating with farmers - Aaron Ault, OADA Project Lead and Senior Research Engineer, Purdue OATS
    • Running successful healthy private public partnerships - Rod Snyder, President, Field to Market

    Demonstration of innovative applications of data & technologies (2:00pm CT)

    • Jenette Ashtekar, Vice President of Sustainability & Regeneration, CIBO Technologies
    • Jay McEntire, Founder & CEO, Arva Intelligence  
    • Chelsea Carey, Working Lands Research Director, Principal Soil Ecologist, Point Blue Conservation Science
    • Mike Komp, Executive Director, Conservation Technology Information Center (moderator)
    Wrap up & closing remarks (3:00pm CT)
    Virtual Networking (optional, begins at 3:10pm CT)


    Friday, September 25, 2020: Data Privacy and Management
    Opening & welcome (10am, CT)

    Barriers for access and diversity in ag: overcoming the digital divide (10:10am CT)

    • Kellee James, Founder & CEO, Mercaris
    • Meredith Ellis, Rancher, G Bar C Ranch
    • LaKisha Odom, Science Program Director, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research
    • Dorn Cox, Farmer & Researcher, Wolfe’s Neck, OpenTEAM  (moderator)

    Student poster presentations - see the top 3 finalists present their research (10:35am CT)

    • “CONTxT” - Alex Layton
    • “Hyper-local Soil Management Made Possible: Handheld Reflectometer Informed by Bayesian Analysis of Local and Remote Data” - Xinyi Tu 
    • “Dynamic High-Precision Field Shape Generation via Combine GPS Tracks” - Yaguang Zhang
    Break (11:15am CT)
    Student poster awards (11:45am CT)

    Data privacy: where’s the benefit? (11:50am CT)

    • Barath Raghavan, Assistant Professor, University of Southern California
    • Michael Sykuta, Associate Professor, University of Missouri-Columbia
    • Trey Hill, CEO & President, Harborview Farms
    • Kevin Silverstein, Scientific Lead for the Research Informatics Solutions, Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (moderator)

    How industries outside of ag overcome data challenges (12:20pm CT)

    • Pasha Sternberg, Associate of Tech Transactions & Data Privacy Practice, Polsinelli
    • Samit Shah, Executive Director of Growth Analytics, Aetna
    • Shefali Mehta, Founder, Open Rivers Consulting Associates (moderator)
    Break (12:50pm CT)

    Demonstration of data and technologies facilitating data management (1:05pm CT)

    • Rikin Gandhi, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Digital Green
    • Aaron Ault, Farmer and Farmware, Trellis & Purdue OATS
    • Liron Brish, CEO and Founder, Farm Dog
    • Dennis Buckmaster, Professor, Purdue OATS
    Break (1:55pm CT)

    Breakout sessions on critical topics in data usage 2:05pm CT)

    • Supply chain/logistics management with data - Corina Ardelean, Manager of Product Management, Data Integration & Logistic Management, Global Fuse - AGCO
    • Data privacy and cybersecurity - Barath Raghavan, Assistant Professor, University of Southern California
    • Improving the data pipeline and interoperability - Rikin Gandhi, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Digital Green and Lin Nease, HPE Fellow and IoT Chief Technologist, Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE)
    • Creating and managing healthy data privacy and standards- Jim Wilgenbusch, Director of Research Computing, Minnesota Supercomputing Institute and Michael Sykuta, Associate Professor, University of Missouri-Columbia 
    • Overcoming pre-competitive challenges - Samit Shah, Executive Director of Growth Analytics, Aetna
    Call to action, next steps & closing remarks (2:40pm CT)



    We are hosting a student competition to showcase early stage ideas and innovation across disciplines. The posters can cover a range of topics, in line with our broad aim for this virtual session ranging the ability to manage data well and fully utilize them across the ag and food value chain (e.g., privacy, interoperability) to innovative applications and uses. VIEW FULL DETAILS.  

    The competition offers cash awards:

    • First prize: $1000
    • Second prize: $500
    • Third prize: $250
    • Honorary mentions: $100

    Submissions deadline: Friday, August 14th at 5pm CT. 


    We are hosting several webinars to prepare for the September meeting. Webinars will include discussions on topics like agricultural data privacy, how organizations are stepping up to the challenge, what is at stake for farmers, and more. Most webinars are on Thursdays at 11am CT/12pm ET:

    • July 30th: Community Call to Action: What do we need to Unlock the Ag Data Revolution? (view recording)
    • August 13th: Retrospective on the 2019 Data Privacy Panel (view recording)
    • August 27th: Farmers’ Perspectives on Agricultural Data & Decision Making (view recording)
    • September 10th: Ag Tech Answering the Farmers’ Needs (view recording)
      (Last webinar will take place at 2pm CT/3pm ET)




    This event is organized by a diverse planning committee crossing academia, research and nonprofit sectors: The Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR)Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC)OpenTEAM, Purdue OATS alongside the hosts, the Institute for Research in Statistics and its Applications (IRSA), GEMS and the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI) at the University of Minnesota.

    Read more about the planning committee.


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