The Coalition for the Advancement of Precision Agriculture (CAPA) hosted its inaugural Precision Ag Forum, Sept. 18, in Washington, D.C. The Agricultural Retailers Association, along with CropLife America, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and other organizations with a stake in precision agriculture organized the event to educate and inform legislators, regulatory agencies and Capitol Hill staff about precision technology and its application on the farm.
“Precision agriculture has made incredible strides in the last seven to eight years,” said Paul Schrimpf, executive editor with Meister Media Worldwide and director of the Precision Ag Institute. “These advances go beyond equipment and application to agronomy, sustainability and conservation.”
The well-attended event included a panel discussion, moderated by Schrimpf, featuring growers and leaders in agricultural equipment, crop inputs and conservation. Panelists discussed their perspectives on trends in precision agriculture, big data, variable rate technology, guidance systems and soil testing and conservation.
“This forum serves as an opportunity to gather key stakeholders, share knowledge and foster a better understanding precision agriculture’s benefits,” said Daren Coppock, president and CEO of ARA and co-chair of the new coalition.
The panel included Justin Stoneman, a row crop and vegetable farmer from central Michigan; Betsy Hickman, Communications and Membership Director, Field to Market: the Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture; Ryan Kuster, Precision Agriculture Specialist, Ag Enterprise Supply; Karen Scanlon, Executive Director, Conservation Technology Information Center; Paul Welbig, General Manager, Raven Industries; Dave Gebhardt, Director of Data and Technology, WinField; and Leif Mangusson, president, CLAAS of America.
Following the panel discussion and remarks from Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.), chairman of the Modern Ag Caucus, attendees visited with exhibitors. AGCO, CLAAS, John Deere, Kinze, Raven Industries and WinField had staff, displays and additional information on hand to share with legislative staff and others in attendance.
Following this kick-off event, the coalition will continue to work to increase awareness of productivity improvements and sustainability enhancements achievable through precision agriculture practices and technologies such as variable rate technology, guidance systems, and soil testing and monitoring. The coalition will work to communicate the benefits surrounding these technologies to Capitol Hill and other key policymakers.