U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, & Data Security, will convene a hearing titled “Technology in Agriculture: Data-Driven Farming,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 14, 2017. The hearing will examine the potential benefits of advancements in agricultural technology and the collection and utilization of data in farming.
- Dr. Shannon Ferrell, Associate Professor, Oklahoma State University
- Dr. Dorota Haman, Professor and Chair, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida
- Mr. Todd J. Janzen, President, Janzen Agricultural Law, LLC
- Mr. Justin Knopf, Farmer, Gypsum, KS
- Mr. Jason Tatge, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Farmobile
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, & Data Security
This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.
Justin KnopfVice PresidentKansas Association of Wheat Growers
Chairman Jerry Moran
(As prepared for delivery)
Good morning. Welcome to the subcommittee’s hearing on “Technology in Agriculture: Data-Driven Farming.” The subcommittee will come to order.
Thank you for being here today to discuss the advancements and benefits of agricultural technology and the potential of “Big Data” in farming.
The agricultural community’s adoption of field sensors, drones, satellite imagery, advanced machinery and similar technology is increasing at an incredible pace to increase crop yields and improve sustainable practices. The most profitable farms are often the most sustainable ones. This rapidly evolving technology will have a vital role in preserving farmers’ most important asset, their land, with the potential to increase farmers’ margins to unprecedented levels.
The collection and analysis of data has enabled farmers to reduce costs through more efficient applications of inputs like fertilizers and pesticides; improve production decisions through enhanced recordkeeping and more accurate yield predictions; and enhance land stewardship and sustainable practices by removing inefficiencies in planting, harvesting, water use and the allocation of other resources. With an increasing volume of quality data, in tandem with improved data analysis, data-collecting technology has the potential to drastically increase farm productivity and profitability.
The collection and use of such data raises issues regarding control of the data, the transparency of agreements between farmers and data firms and barriers to expanding internet access in rural areas.
Additionally, as data collection and sharing practices become more popular across the agriculture economy, farmers are well-positioned to benefit from the “commoditization” of data collected from their land, especially as equipment manufacturers, service providers, cooperatives and other businesses seek to access and utilize this data.
My goal for this hearing is to educate and empower our nation’s farmers to understand the value of the information they are creating.
It is my pleasure to introduce our panel today. Thank you all for being here.
Mr. Justin Knopf is a farmer from Gypsum, Kansas, and he grows wheat, alfalfa, soybeans, grain sorghum, corn and multi-species cover crops. As a part of his sustainability-focused farming operations, he practices what is commonly referred to as “no-till” farming and utilizes a variety of technologies that assist his monitoring efforts to be a good steward of the land while improving his yield.
Mr. Jason Tatge is the Co-Founder and CEO of Farmobile, a technology firm based in Overland Park, Kansas. His company’s services provide farmers with real-time access to and ownership of current and historical data pertaining to their land. By providing a user-friendly, simplified yet comprehensive overview of relevant data, Farmobile’s customers are able to make educated decisions in a timely fashion.
Dr. Shannon Ferrell is an Associate Professor at Oklahoma State University Department of Agricultural Economics. He also serves as the agricultural industry representative to the Oklahoma Environmental Quality Board, which oversees the operation of the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.
Mr. Todd Janzen is President of Janzen Agricultural Law, LLC and the Administrator of the Ag Data Transparency project. This project makes available the Ag Data Transparency Evaluator, which aims to provide clarity to consumers as to what businesses do with the data that is shared with them.
Dr. Dorota Haman is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Florida. She specializes in irrigation water management and efficiencies, and has been an active leader in providing irrigation technology to developing countries in the Americas and Africa.
I look forward to hearing the testimonies of this expert witness panel. I now turn to my colleague Ranking Member Blumenthal for his opening remarks.
Witness Panel 1
Shannon L. Ferrell J.D. MS.Associate ProfessorOklahoma State University Dept. of Agricultural Economics
Dr. Dorota Haman Ph.D.Professor and Chair Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Institute of Food and Agricultural SciencesUniversity of Florida
Todd J. JanzenPresidentJanzen Agricultural Law LLC
Jason G. TatgeCo-founder, President and CEOFarmobile
Mr. Justin KnopfFarmer