SAN FRANCISCO — Advances in data science and technology will be transformational and can alter the outcome for the nine billion people expected by 2050 if advances are adopted at a necessary speed across the food system, according to FarmLink leaders speaking at GAI AgTech Week Conference.

“We believe it’s a transformational time for this industry — 'Ag 3.0' — when the combination of human know-how and insight, coupled with robust data science and analytics will change the productivity, profitability and sustainability of agriculture,” said Ron LeMay, Chairman and CEO of FarmLink. “But for data science to truly unlock the potential of precision agriculture, we must hold the rigor of data collection, management and sharing to the highest standard.”

“Agriculture has always embraced innovation to realize incredible productivity gains,” said Dave Gebhardt, Ph.D., FarmLink’s Chief Strategy Officer – Data Products and Agronomy. “While precision agriculture has pioneered over the past two decades to improve productivity, data science adoption is at the tipping point of the next revolution in agriculture.”

Gebhardt and LeMay spoke on two separate panels on innovations in ag tech at the conference, attended by industry leaders and investors in worldwide food and technology sectors.

“Precision farming — initiated through GPS, variable rate application equipment and other technologies — is now evolving to ‘decision farming,’ ” said Gebhardt. “Moving beyond Big Data and focusing instead on actionable data and insights can transform precision agriculture to help farmers reduce risk and increase productivity on their farms.”

Data products such as FarmLink’s TrueHarvest benchmark are helping farmers pinpoint opportunities for more profitable and sustainable farm management that can help close the more than $10 billion gap in corn and soybean production. The company recently announced a series of key partnerships with leading ag retailers across the Midwest who intend to offer the benchmark to farm operations on tens of millions of acres.

“Through yield benchmarking and advanced analytics, FarmLink is bringing innovative data science to help farmers and leaders across the entire food chain by increasing transparency to inspire changes needed to ensure the quality and affordability of agricultural products,” said LeMay. 

“It’s an exciting time to be in agriculture,” said Gebhardt. “The pace of innovation must increase to make agriculture economically and environmentally sustainable, and entrepreneurs will drive that change. Our industry is poised to leverage advanced analytics to address complex challenges, just as technology- leading industries like energy and telecommunications have already accomplished.”