Soil, big data and the future of agriculture conference

When

7.00am–4.00pm

25 June 2015

Where

Hotel Realm, Canberra

Type

Conference

Agriculture will be transformed over the coming decade as 21st century digital technology becomes embedded into every aspect of production and farm enterprise management. In recent years, there has been an explosion in the development of agricultural sensing technologies that measure and collect data on every aspect of farm production, generating massive amounts of data, or "big data". On its own, the data is meaningless, but if it is properly collected, analysed and delivered back to the farmer in a timely and usable fashion, it can provide substantial benefits.

Soil sensing technologies are just getting started. In the future, 3D real-time maps of a paddock's entire soil system will enable farmers to manage the system to optimise plant growth - from the soil up. Linking this information right through supply chains to the consumer will reinforce the ‘clean and green’ production values of Australian agricultural produce.

This all sounds incredible in theory, but is it really possible?

The Soil, Big Data and the Future of Agriculture conference explored the rapid advances in big data analytics in agriculture and delved into a range of issues foremost in the minds of farmers as they consider the future, including farm data privacy and security, and remote and rural access to broadband capacity.

Welcome

The Honourable Robert Hill AC Adjunct Professor in Sustainability, United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney

Introduction

Andrea Koch Soil Policy Specialist and Event Director, Soil, Big Data and the Future of Agriculture Conference United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney

Session One: Digital Innovation in Agriculture - A Government Perspective

The digitisation of agriculture presents both exciting opportunities and new challenges for governments. Developing and implementing public policy that enhances the competitiveness of the agribusiness sector in an increasingly data driven world is a contemporary challenge. In this session senior representatives from the US and Australian governments will discuss how these challenges will be met.

Introduction by the chair

The Honourable John Anderson AO Former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia

Big Data and the Future of Agriculture

Dr Sonny Ramaswamy Director USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture 

Readying Rural Australia for Digital Agriculture

Angus Taylor MP Member for Hume, New South Wales

Soil big data and Australian agriculture - looking back and looking forward

Brian Keating Executive Director for Agriculture, Food and Health, CSIRO

Q&A with Sonny Ramaswamy and Brian Keating

Introduction of the Minister

The Honourable John Anderson AO Former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia

Innovation in Australian Agriculture

The Honourable Barnaby Joyce MP Australian Minister for Agriculture, Member for New England

Session Two: Big Data and the Internet of Agricultural Things

Big data, the Internet of Agricultural Things, digital agriculture – they are here, but it is not necessarily clear what it all means and how Australian farmers and graziers can take advantage of them. In this session industry leaders will provide an overview of the technology, where it is now, how it can make farming more profitable and how it will head over the next few years.

Introduction

Sue Neales Specialist Agricultural Writer, The Australian 

Agricultural Data Integration for productivity and profitability 

Charles Schleusner Manager, Product Marketing and Strategy, John Deere

Digitizing livestock management through supply chain

Alex Ball General Manager, Livestock Productivity, Meat and Livestock Australia

Australian innovation in the Internet of Agricultural Things - Who is in the field and how farmers can get on board

Alicia Garden CEO, GrainGrowers

Future Farmer - how 'big data' can improve farm practice and profitability

Jonathan Dyer Farmer, 2015 Nuffield Scholar

Panel discussion and Q&A

How big data analysis is revolutionising livestock and dairy management

In Conversation: Gerard Davis, GM Innovation and Technology, AACo, with Cameron Clark, Senior Research Fellow (Dairy), University of Sydney

Session Three: Digital Soil Productivity

Digital mapping and big data analytics can now produce 3D pictures of soil – the most complex substance on the planet. This will unlock step changes in productivity by enabling management of soil function to intensify production and at the same time improve and maintain soil condition. In this session three of the world’s leading soil informatics experts will explain why this futuristic vision is on our doorstep, followed by a conversation about current best practice soil management with a leading Australian soil agronomist and a farmer who applies all of today’s technology. Finally we will hear from the company contracted to deliver soil carbon credits to the Emissions Reduction Fund, and how technology will make this possible.

Introduction

Andrea Koch Soil Policy Specialist and Event Director, Soil, Big Data and the Future of Agriculture Conference United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney

Radical soil management for radical productivity lift

Professor Alex McBratney Professor of Soil Science, Pro-Dean Research, Head of Department, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney

Drought proofing America - the US National Soil Moisture Network

Dr Michael Strobel Director, USDA National Water and Climate Centre

3D digital soil maps as the engine for farm productivity

Pradip Das Stategy and Operations Leader, Measurement, Climate Cooperation

Panel discussion and Q&A

Soil use efficiency and the integration of new soil data to drive productivity

In Conversation: Michael Eyres, CEO, Injekta Field Systems with Brad Jones, Director Bungulla Farming Pty Ltd.

Lunchtime Session: Keynote - Farm Data Privacy and Security

Farm data privacy and security is of key concern to farmers who are entering into this new era. Our lunch keynote speaker, Mary Kay Thatcher from the American Farm Bureau Federation, was responsible for development of an industry agreement on farm data privacy and security principles in 2014. Peter Leonard, Partner from Gilbert + Tobin is one of Australia’s leading data security lawyers. He will join Mary Kay in conversation to draw out the lessons for Australia.

Introduction of Competition Winner - Timothy Smith

Professor Bates Gill CEO, United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney

Introduction

The Honourable John Anderson AO Former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia

Introduction of Mary Kay Thatcher

Peter Leonard Gilbert + Tobin 

Farm Data Privacy and Security - the US journey and lessons for Australia

Mary Kay Thatcher Senior Director, Congressional Relations, American Farm Bureau Federation  

Mary Kay Thatcher and Peter Leonard in conversation and Q&A

Session Five: The Future of Agriculture - Policy and Research Implications

The emergence of digital agriculture raises a raft of implications for policy makers and for the research community. Big data analytics promises much, but can only be delivered if the data is available and secure. In this session these issues will be discussed from the perspectives of industry, science and government.

Introduction

Dr Georgina Kelly Director Soils, NSW Department of Primary Industries

Impacts of farming big data for society, farmers, policy and research

Terry Griffin Griffin Consulting

Governance for Australia's national soil data resource 

Peter Wilson Manager National Soil Information, CSIRO 

Outlook for soil and farm data integration - perspectives from the US and Australia

Mark Pawsey SST Software Australia

Using technology to measure soil carbon for the Carbon Farming Initative

Ignatius Verbeek Director and COO, Carbon Link

Panel Discussion and Q&A

Concluding Remarks

Concluding remarks

The Honourable. John Anderson AO Former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia

Andrea Koch Soil Policy Specialist and Event Director, Soil, Big Data and the future of Agriculture Conference United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney

The Dow Sustainability Program 2010-2016 Program receives funding support from the following partners