This fall, I had the privilege of attending the “Agricultural Bioscience International Conference” (ABIC) in Fargo, ND. Being this was this first time this conference was hosted in the United States, it was an exciting privilege to attend here at home.
The theme of ABIC 2016 was “Better Food. Better World.” Industry leading researchers and advocates from across the globe came together to share ideas around this theme.
While there were many exciting and outstanding moments in the conference, here are a few highlights I’d like to share:
Dave Baudler, President, Cargill AgHorizons
- The food industry needs to change its approach in explaining new technology to consumers.
- Consumers want to understand how the changes in technology benefit them.
- Researchers should focus on developing technologies that benefit consumers rather than focusing on production enhancements.
Dr. Patrick Moore
- Founder of Greenpeace, left when science was no longer driving the decisions of the organization.
- Promoted the Golden Rice Project.
- Call for researchers to advocate.
- “Green peace lost the humanitarian mission and made humans the enemies of the earth.”
Dr. Kevin Folta
- A personal hero of mine who has championed advocacy of scientific advances in agriculture.
- Emphasized that people in the ag community need to approach the public with the intent of better connecting by earning trust, empathy, and active listening.
- “Once trust is earned the discussion can begin.”
I left the conference with several thoughts on the top of my mind. First, I am amazed at the breadth and depth of technology in the world of agriculture. Advances in the industry which will lead to more sustainable food production. Second is the passion and pride people take in their roles across this industry. I met with research scientists, farmers, government officials, and advocates. Each one took his/her role seriously in providing safe, affordable, and nutritious food to the world. Finally, the amount of data in agriculture is overwhelming! With each new advance comes another decision point for producers. Further, consumers have more access to information about their food than ever before.
Mobile technology will play a key role in this industry for many years to come. It will provide growers with real-time access to data that will help them make complex decisions. Consumers will be closer to the farm. (This is especially exciting for me!) They will know more than ever about how food is being produced. Answers to questions such as: “Where does my food come from?” or “How do modern production methods impact the environment” will be available to a wide audience. Armed with this information, consumers will be empowered to make smart decisions. Tom Rath once said: “Making better choices takes work. There is a daily give and take, but it is worth the effort.” Mobile will be an essential part of these choices for consumers and producers, building bridges between two divided groups.
About the Author: Peter Schott grew up on a family farm dreaming about the possibilities technology has for agriculture. He brings over 10 years of ERP software implementation experience with seven years in the feed manufacturing industry. From mid-sized family owned businesses to large scale multi-national enterprises, Peter has partnered with customers with a variety of needs and sizes. He has worked with customers all across North America, serving the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Peter is excited to work with your business and work side by side with the experts from your team to create a world-class mobile strategy.