Tech-Transformed Agriculture #MNBroadband Conference

Faced with a growing global population, farmers are attempting to produce more food, fuel, and fiber more efficiently at reduced cost. This panel will explore the role of technology and internet connectivity in Minnesota’s Ag economy and discuss a range of practical applications of “tech-transformed” agriculture being adopted by Minnesota farmers, including as a strategy to diversify our agricultural landscapes.

Notes: Tech Transformed Agriculture

Keith Olander

–          Farm Business Management

o   Adaption of technology is slowed by the poor economy for farmers

o   76% drop in farm income since 2012

–          Broadband on the Farm

o   Automation of farming equipment such as tractors and irrigators

o   Microchips that can be put into the soil

o   Automated weather alerts to help determine irrigation patterns, types of crops planted, etc.

–          Drones in Ag can limit use of pesticides and herbicides by applying them only to the places that need them

Jim Chamberlin

–          Issues in Agriculture

o   Population decline of insects, birds, and pollinators

o   Dead Zones in the Gulf of Mexico

o   Climate Change

–          Agriculture as a solution to climate change by taking carbon out of the air and improving soil health

–          Soil health = the ability to retain nutrients and water

–          Healthy soils would reduce the amount of nitrogen in the atmosphere and water

–          The microbiome of soil is disturbed by pesticides/herbicides, and tilling/plowing.

–          Keeping soil moist by using mulch, keeping living roots in the soil, and integrating livestock help to retain the microbiome.

–          Soil testing via the Solvita test and the Haney test

–          Technology

o   Facebook for networking

o   YouTube and podcasts for learning

o   Fitbit for cows

o   Increasing crop diversity through automated farm vehicles because they can be smaller

Sam Ziegler

–          People migrating from rural to urban areas

–          Central and Southern Minnesota have high land productivity

–          GreenSeam Mission: to be the premier ag business epicenter in the United States

o   through business retention and attraction, business attraction and creation, and talent development

–          28% of people in Southern MN are working in agriculture

–          Helping a start-up that is developing a software to identify turkeys and health markers

–          Smarter farming practices could generate 2.3 trillion dollars according to a study by Tuft’s University

–          40k for Sam to get fiber to his farm. He is currently using cell data to use farming technology.

This entry was posted in Blandin Broadband Summit 2019 by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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