Thursday, July 25, 2024

Top 5 This Week

Riding the Data-driven Culture to Improve Outcomes across Agricultural Fields

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T) has officially announced a partnership with North Carolina State University, and data management leader, SAS, to advance agricultural research across the state’s land-grant universities. Under the agreed terms, the partnership will leverage North Carolina’s proven university extension programs to help farmers and growers access comprehensive insights. As for what makes these insights so valuable, the answer is rooted in how they stem from a set of initiatives that, on their part, boast collaboration with more than 101 centers, as well as with over 1,100 experts. Talk about SAS’ role in the proceedings, though, it will be more to enhance research efforts, particularly in precision agriculture, thus enabling continuous improvement in plant sciences, animal husbandry, crop yields, and land management etc. Owing to that, the company can also be expected to realize profitable and sustainable practices at scale. But how will it achieve that from a more actionable standpoint? Well, in practice, both NC State and NC A&T will deploy SAS® Viya®, an end-to-end analytics and AI platform, to enhance research, accelerate innovation, and support future grant opportunities. By doing so, the stated two organizations should be able to more efficiently orchestrate the general research life cycle. Next up, it will allow them to integrate disparate data from across academic, government, and industry sources for the purpose of creating an exclusive data source.

“As the nation’s largest land-grant HBCU, we are excited to use this platform to deliver ‘Ag 5.0′ – research-based, data-driven agricultural know-how – to all communities, including the small, limited-resource and minority farmers that constitute so much of our state’s agriculture sector, and to provide it in ways that everyone can easily understand,” said Shirley Hymon-Parker, Interim Dean of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at NC A&T. “We look forward to bringing research out of the lab faster and more effectively, and into the communities that are eager to use it.”

Hold on, there is more, considering we still haven’t acknowledged the fact that SAS’ platform will also help researchers at NC A&T and NC State to centrally manage complex data security, integrity, governance and continuity. Furthermore, there is a chance available for these researchers to either work in open source or SAS during their attempts to amplify analytical outputs and impact. Among other details, we can refer the platform’s knowhow in the context of attracting students and faculty talent to develop workforce and farmer-of-the-future capacities.

Interestingly, the collaboration in question builds upon the work SAS previously did with NC State’s Plant Sciences Initiative (PSI). You see, back in 2020, the company partnered with PSI to pilot a data and analytics platform that empowers research for multidisciplinary projects. This it does to detect plant diseases and improve the sustainability of agricultural systems using data and in-field sensors. Furthermore, it also uses computer-vision software to boost the profitability of specific crops.

Coming back to the development in question, it is supported by state funding earmarked specifically for enhancing the region’s agricultural sector, which generates an economic impact of more than $100 billion annually.

“This partnership between SAS and the two NC land grant universities will energize and accelerate discoveries and delivery of solutions and opportunities to our agriculture sector,” said Steven A. Lommel, Director of the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service and Associate Dean for Research at NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). “Like all fields, agriculture is data driven. Analytics-based solutions accelerated by this partnership will increase yields, efficiency, resiliency and sustainability while reducing inputs and costs