Beyond Big Data at #InfoAg2017

kelly marshall

This isn’t the first time Steve Sonka has been a keynote speaker at Info Ag in St. Louis, Missouri, but last time he spoke he focused on Big Data. Today his message has changed.

“Big data is only part of the opportunity in production agriculture,” Sonka told me.  “I talked today about digital ag. What that refers to is the introduction, really in the last four to five years, of new sensors, new devices to capture data about actual production on our farms and our fields and feed lots and pens.  We’ve never had that before.  And that raises lots of opportunities that really go beyond big data as we normally think of it.”

True big data takes a lot of work, money and know-how to capture and interpret- requiring multi-national companies and people with PhDs. But today many farms have “lots of data” on a USB drive, often in the desk drawer. It cannot be considered true “Big Data” but it’s still a lot more information than a person could comprehend with an Excel spreadsheet, Sonka explains. It’s within this space that entrepreneurs have a lot of room to meet the needs of farmers.

If data is changing, then so are the economics surrounding it.  Traditionally goods are consumed, and if one person uses it, it’s gone.  Not so in a digital age.  And where once there was value in collected data, today we find value in the solutions it presents.  Learn more Sonka’s thoughts on data in my full interview with him here: Interview with Steve Sonka, InfoAg Keynote Speaker

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