With the global population growing at an ever increasing rate, there has never been a better time to introduce advanced IoT technologies into the agricultural mainstream. As such, the USDA is focused on integrating core IoT solutions as quickly as possible into farmers’ ecosystems. Their hope is to mitigate the destabilizing factors that are affecting agricultural systems ability to be more productive, more profitable, and more sustainable. The article that follows takes a deep dive into how these technologies are helping to measure a whole host of variables that could have a major impact on farming conditions.
Farmers have no shortage of tools to increase their crop output, but the Agriculture Department is taking the next step with industry to help establish the data-driven farms of the future.
USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, together with corporate partners like Microsoft and Esri, have launched what they call the Data Innovations project, aimed at using the Internet of Things and other technologies to give farmers and researchers near-real-time data on farm conditions.
At a 7,000-acre farm at its Beltsville Area Research Center, USDA has deployed sensors, drones and IoT-enabled farm equipment for a public-private pilot program called Farmbeats. The data then gets beamed up to the cloud, where an AI algorithm provides data visualization to farmers and researchers.