Now that’s TEAMWORK!
When GNG started to create the Smart Farming curriculum using data to make decisions, our first issue was where to get the data. Farmers are pretty protective of their field data and for good reason—no one wants to be critiqued on their farm’s performance. We got a good start with help from Jeff Goodbar from Sunrise Coop, who was able to get us some field data. We began to understand the complexities of soil tests and yield analyses.
At Commodity Classic 2018, we met the programmers behind AgSolver, an agribusiness company combining data management and simulation to increase profits and improve investment returns. We found out that Molly Caren Agricultural Center, the home of the Farm Science Review, was actually using AgSolver to track their return on investment and look at how they could increase productivity.
After meeting with Nate Douridas, the manager of Molly Caren, we were given permission to use a portion of the farm’s data. With access to the data from five fields, we were able to build the lessons and the spreadsheet to explain the complexity of modern farming and how different decisions farmers make, from tillage methods to pest protection, can make a difference in yield and the health of the farm.
The Smart Farming unit contains science connected to biology, chemistry, environmental science, and more, as well as highlighting the benefits of precision technology in agriculture. It is designed to help students understand how farmers make choices and how those choices affect their bottom line. Check it out here.