Digital ag, data, drones and the future of ag technology among topics featured in upcoming Iowa Farm Bureau Economic Summit

Ag technology, including aerial crop scouting, data analysis and prescription fertilizer mapping software applications, took center stage this week as Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) President Craig Hill and other ag leaders hosted President Trump at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids to discuss the importance of high tech for the future of agriculture.

IFBF leaders say Artificial Intelligence (AI), cloud-based data-mapping and more are helping farmers discover foot-by-foot intra-field variances in fertility, moisture or pest issues; managing these variances and embracing these emerging technologies will not only bring new jobs to rural Iowa, but will help Iowa farmers remain environmentally sustainable and profitable in a tightened economy. 

As IFBF President Hill accompanied the President on the tour of Kirkwood, it was apparent that Trump was impressed by the potential of ag technology.      “We saw how today’s farmers can adjust application rates of fertilizers in their fields with just the touch of a smartphone. It’s changed a lot over the years. They demonstrated how drones, of all things, are used to gather data on crops and how simulators are used to train students in the next generation of farming equipment.   If we continue to train our workers in these new technologies, then we will usher in a new era of prosperity for American agriculture and for the American farming family,” said Trump.

“One in five jobs in Iowa is tied to agriculture, and we agree that the future of farming must embrace these changes to remain not only economically viable, but environmentally sustainable,” said IFBF President Hill.

As farmers enter a fourth year of a downturned ag economy, Iowa farmers are doing what they must to discover ways to do more, with less.  Iowa Farm Bureau’s 2017 Economic Summit, “Overcoming Challenges, Creating Opportunities,” on July 20 at the Iowa State Scheman Center in Ames is designed to help farmers manage and strategize during this tumultuous time for agriculture, because farmers have faced a 46 percent drop in farm income over the past three years.  In addition to bringing national speakers to the summit on issues of trade and the farm bill, the IFBF Economic Summit will also feature a special session on ag technology.  ‘What’s New in Digital Ag & How to Use the Data’, featuring Jeremy Wilson, Technology Specialist, Crop IMS, is expected to bring a large crowd of interested Iowa farmers and ag leaders.  There will also be a presentation on aerial crop scouting by Brent Johnson of Labre Crop Consulting.

Iowa Farm Bureau members who attend the full-day summit will benefit from the expertise of Iowa-based and national experts presenting on a range of subjects and issues critical to agriculture today, including economist David Oppendahl of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; John Newton, an AFBF economist; and Jim Knuth, Iowa-based senior vice president of the Farm Credit Services of America. 

This year’s summit will also feature breakout sessions that allow attendees to dive deeper into a range of topics from soil health and cover crops and opportunities in livestock production to ways to build landlord-tenant relationships and trends in the farm machinery markets.   

Summit registration, which includes access to all presentations and lunch, is $30 for Farm Bureau members and $75 for non-members before July 11.  Click here or contact Lavonne Baldwin (515-225-5633; for more information.