The first InfoAg conference was held in 1995. In 2001, I attended my first conference as a fresh hire at Crop Quest. It seems like a long time ago, but I can still remember the excitement that came with it. Precision Ag was in its infancy and there was always something new to discover. But then again, I suppose that’s the nature of being on the cutting edge. There will always be innovative and new way to apply technology.
At Crop Quest, we had started offering grid sampling, management zones, and yield analysis services only a few years prior. The industry in general was evolving and Crop Quest services were expanding. I was the first Precision Ag Specialist hired specifically for a technology role at CQ. Since then our Technology Team, or Tech Team as we call it, continues to grow. The Tech Team now includes developers and IT specialists along with the traditional precision ag staff.
This mixing of various backgrounds continues to move precision ag in a positive and forward-thinking direction. Collaboration between technology and agronomy continues to expand; and in my opinion, that needs to happen if we want adoptable technology that brings value to a farm.
One of the high points at InfoAg is the opportunity to visit with all the vendors. This year did not disappoint. While stopping by and visiting the vendor booths, you get the inside scoop and a better feel for the direction precision ag is headed. It’s also great to “geek out” on the new sensors and software that will likely be headed our way. Some years at InfoAg we see massive influxes of startups. Some years the presence of the established firms is more prevailing. This year, I would say the conference had a feel for the latter. Probably due to many of the small startups being eaten up/integrated into the larger established firms.
Walking the halls at InfoAg you get a sense of how important it is for technology to be rooted in sound agronomics. There are a lot of new things to evaluate, and it can be quite cumbersome to weed through the new technology. The services and technology combined must bring real value back to a farm for it to be adopted. It’s important to us here at Crop Quest to stay up-to-date and introduce the new ideas and technology to our consumers. We actively look for more innovative ways to improve a farm’s profit and increase efficiency.
For twenty-three years, the InfoAg conference has been a great place to network and see the cutting-edge technology available within our ag industry. As the rate of change continues to quicken, I’m certain the next twenty-three years will be just as impressive.
Written by Nathan Woydziak, Precision Ag Manager