Agrible’s Chief Science Officer, Paul Miller, was part of the Machine Learning Opportunities/Challenges panel at the University of Illinois last week. Miller explained how Agrible® provides the best insights for growers with their Morning Farm Report® software. So, following the event, we wanted to hear more about his views on Agrible’s Morning Farm Report, and why it held significant ground amongst the other panelists’ presentations.
Why is it important for you, and for Agrible, to build technology that works for everybody?
Software for growers, agricultural production, and sustainable sourcing, in general, reflect the complexities of agriculture. Optimizing farming practices requires keeping careful notes, trying new things on the farm, and evaluating what works and what does not. This is the scientific method.
Growers are trying to do more with less. Building technology that works across the United States and the world is challenging, but growers are affected by what happens across the world. By building technology that works for everyone, we make the system work for whatever is critical for the grower, and we help to lessen their data entry requirements to make the system work for them, and to recommend approaches relevant to their agronomic system. It's a complex world, but good software and analytics help to build better understanding, recommendations, yields, and profitability.
Why was it important for Agrible to be part of the ML Farm-to-Table panel?
Agrible is an agricultural industry-leading company. We are paving the way for pragmatic predictive tools—built by growers, for growers—that have the best science and methods, like Morning Farm Report.
The scientists at Agrible are at their heart academics in agronomy, agricultural engineering, physics, atmospheric science, and mathematics, but we are also part of the agricultural industry in a big way. We work with growers. We also evaluate new science and methods and bring those ideas into our products to put directly in the hands of growers in ways that were never possible previously. Academics also benefit since we can work with growers in ways that we were not possible before, too. People who want to do on-farm trials and would like to partner with us can use Morning Farm Report to work together to rapidly further agronomic science. We are excited to be able to do this for growers.
It was really great to participate in an academic conference and not only be the voice of industry but also try to represent the voice of growers, from my perspective. Too often the voice of growers is left out of the academic conversation, and I was happy to bring Agrible’s perspective as a partner with growers to the panel.
How did we fit in?
I am always interested in adding more machine learning and artificial intelligence to Morning Farm Report and our products. We already have a number of systems that work in the background to process and prepare data to aid growers in data entry, and other details that most people have very little interest in doing, since it is very repetitive. Even though it is repetitive, it is critical to be done accurately. These systems help that process.
To make Morning Farm Report be all that I know it can be, we will need to continue to heavily invest in these systems and approaches. This will help growers understand and plan with a degree of accuracy. This will help growers in understanding degree of accuracy. It is very exciting, and I am always interested in the new science, methods, and use cases that we can add to our products or to approach problems in new ways. It is so great to not only be in the heart of Ag, but to also be at one of the most prestigious agricultural and computer science schools in the country.
How did we stand out?
I think people are always surprised by the industry point of view at these events. I think we also had a chance to showcase the ways we partner with growers and the things we can bring to the table, which they never considered before. There is always a place for basic agronomic science and research, but I must say that the way some of that research should be done is by developing partnerships with Agrible and other parts of the agricultural industry.
Finally, I believe that we showed them a grower view of these approaches and tools—why we do the things we do, and how we go about the process—which is pretty different compared to the academic point of view.
Since we do our product development with a direct eye for the use of the agronomic science in practice and ease of use of those products in growers’ hands, we have a very scalable and pragmatic way to work with growers and the latest science, all at the same time. It is pretty revolutionary and amazing. I am so proud and happy to be able to be a part of this team that can really change agriculture for growers, now, and for the future.