The PrecisionAg Institute recently announced the recipients of the 2011 PrecisionAg Awards of Excellence. This is the fifth annual presentation of these awards, designed to celebrate the people and programs that have helped agriculture realize the full benefits of technology to improve agronomy, efficiency, and stewardship in crop production.
This year’s winners are:
Legacy Award – Dr. Nyle Wollenhaupt, Plant Scientist, Minnetonka, MN
As a Plant Scientist, Nyle has always led first with the scientific approach to variable rate application: applying only what is needed and when, while determining those amounts based upon proven science. He has worked with farmers and custom applicators from the earliest concepts of statistical-based soil sampling to development of hardware and software tools. This allowed agronomists to add their local knowledge of agronomic practices and techniques in forms that enhanced agronomic value to their customers through practicing variable rate application of fertilizers, soil amendments and plant protection products. As additional support for using these field techniques, Wollenhaupt has worked closely with yield monitors and precision farming tools that assist in quantifying and substantiating the economic value of precision farming.
Farmer Award – Dan Forgey, Farm Manager, Gettysburg, SD
Dan Forgey is the agronomy manager at Cronin Farms, an 8,500 acre crop and cow-calf operation located in central South Dakota. He has been a no-till expert for 19 years growing spring wheat, winter wheat, corn, sunflowers, soybeans, field peas, and lentils as cash crops and numerous cover crops. He manages land for forage production for a 750 beef cow/calf operation and 12 different rotations over the 8,500 acres. Dan was a founding member of the Upper Midwest Space Consortium at the University of North Dakota. UMAC provides remote sensing (RS) imagery and collaborates with farmers to develop RS agriculture applications. He has been using RS and yield monitor data to create management zones for corn and wheat since 2003. Recently, Dan added real time kinetic (RTK) technology to map field elevations that now includes elevation to delineate zones.
Crop Adviser/Entrepreneur Award – Dave Nerpel, Director of Field Technology, Warden, WA
Dave Nerpel translates industry innovations into services for the Wilbur-Ellis Company. With his understanding of services, web-based record keeping, and telematics, Dave became the foundation of its AgVerdict program. Nerpel has a vision for the future which is coming into play as the industry recognizes that the concept of singular tools on one computer is being trumped by web-based systems that can be accessed simultaneously from multiple locations for system-wide program. Wilbur-Ellis’ AgVerdict is driving a new level of integrated solutions to a variety of needs. From proof of concept to commercial adoption, Dave has contributed to the development of multi-product rate control, software, hardware, the proliferation of high-accuracy GPS applications and steering control, moisture sensors, desktop to web-based geo-spatial records, and telematics.
Agriculture Educator/Researcher Award – Scott Beck, Atlanta, IN
Scott Beck manages and directs the Practical Farm Research facilities that promote agronomic and precision ag technologies and developments. A key goal for Beck and his group is to demonstrate new practices, including precision ag technologies, which allow growers to get a first hand view and understanding on how precision ag technology works. It also helps growers to determine if they will work for their farming operation before any capital investments are made. Scott’s Practical Farm Research program is currently testing the use of weather stations in conjunction with fungicide applications, particularly with soybeans. The program is trying to build a model to determine when it may be the best agronomic time to spray fungicides to achieve optimum performance and profitability.