Video: Strategic Discussions for Nebraska 2017
Mike Boehm, IANR Harlan Vice Chancellor, introduces the 2017 Strategic Discussions for Nebraska publication, "Big Data: Managing the Future's Agriculture and Natural Resource Systems." https://sdn.unl.edu/
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[00:00:07.989]Strategic discussions for Nebraska's 2017 publication
[00:00:11.971]is Big Data, Managing the Future's Agriculture
[00:00:15.479]and Natural Resource Systems.
[00:00:17.959]Big data is the incredible flow of information
[00:00:20.409]that surrounds each of us every day.
[00:00:22.978]Big data is also a critical factor
[00:00:25.029]in agriculture as it drives today's precision agriculture
[00:00:28.770]by using unmanned aerial vehicles,
[00:00:31.181]satellites and sensors
[00:00:32.868]to increase production efficiency
[00:00:34.930]and reduce water usage.
[00:00:37.218]The University of Nebraska's Science Faculty
[00:00:39.869]rely on massive amounts of data generated
[00:00:42.626]by the latest technologies.
[00:00:45.006]We can use big data to find solutions
[00:00:47.046]for some of the most daunting challenges we face.
[00:00:50.741]The stories in this publication
[00:00:52.477]were written by students majoring in agricultural
[00:00:55.446]and environmental sciences communication.
[00:00:58.343]They're based on interviews conducted
[00:01:00.051]with University of Nebraska scientists
[00:01:02.877]who use the best available, data-driven technologies
[00:01:05.969]in their research and in the classroom.
[00:01:08.936]Let's take a look at a few examples
[00:01:11.460]of how the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources
[00:01:14.708]is using big data to find solutions
[00:01:17.281]for tomorrow's agriculture, food production
[00:01:20.196]and safety and water conservation challenges.
[00:01:23.922]Precision ag is gonna be kind of the way of the future
[00:01:28.146]and one of the bottom line issues that I think about
[00:01:30.763]is farms are not getting smaller in size.
[00:01:34.825]We have this combining of farms over time,
[00:01:40.817]less farms, larger acres.
[00:01:43.630]Those farms become more difficult to manage
[00:01:47.606]if we don't have data,
[00:01:48.616]so if I'm managing a 400-acre/500-acre farm,
[00:01:51.558]a lot of that I can kind of do,
[00:01:53.503]I keep track of everything,
[00:01:54.773]instinctively I know and if I've been farming that
[00:01:58.065]for 25/30 years which a lot of people have,
[00:02:01.090]we know how that field is gonna respond.
[00:02:04.621]In the future farms are gonna be much larger,
[00:02:08.133]we're gonna have to have better information
[00:02:11.269]so that we manage all those fields under one system
[00:02:14.573]and so, I think that's kind of the key for data
[00:02:17.444]with sensors and automating parts of our management system,
[00:02:22.090]whether it's the equipment
[00:02:23.323]or whether it's that decision support along the way.
[00:02:26.961]That's just gonna have to be part of it
[00:02:28.421]just because we don't have time to go out,
[00:02:31.282]walk every acre of every field.
[00:02:32.972]We're gonna have to do that a lot more efficiently
[00:02:36.434]and then of course there's the historical aspect of it
[00:02:41.474]and there's a lot of great speakers out there
[00:02:43.882]that have talked about how when they inherited their farm,
[00:02:47.420]their dad told them everything
[00:02:48.754]that they knew about that farm.
[00:02:52.069]Today that's electronic records
[00:02:54.084]and people are actually passing that previous yield history,
[00:02:58.565]application history onto their kids
[00:03:02.162]that are taking over the farm
[00:03:04.699]and that's just a great resource
[00:03:05.860]for people to have.
[00:03:07.122]So, big data to me means observing the environment,
[00:03:10.538]the atmosphere, the landscape, the soils
[00:03:12.554]at a very fine spacial and temporal scale
[00:03:15.771]and the closer you look, the more detail you can see
[00:03:19.228]and the better you can understand the environment
[00:03:21.834]and some of the issues with that
[00:03:23.401]are taking that information
[00:03:25.571]and translating it into worthwhile applications.
[00:03:29.099]The most exciting part of my work
[00:03:30.723]is thinking about how to grow the Nebraska Mesonet
[00:03:33.818]which is the state-wide weather monitoring program
[00:03:36.683]operated out of the university
[00:03:38.970]and we take automated weather observations
[00:03:41.460]all across the state.
[00:03:42.819]We almost have one in every county
[00:03:44.776]and thinking about how best to observe
[00:03:47.184]Nebraska's highly variable weather and climate
[00:03:50.069]and also engaging with end users of that information
[00:03:52.909]and understanding what they need
[00:03:54.210]and then delivering that information to them.
[00:03:56.565]And traditionally we haven't trained people
[00:03:58.876]in the life sciences to deal with data.
[00:04:02.236]They learn to look in microscopes,
[00:04:03.898]they learn to take pictures, they learn to observe
[00:04:06.981]but at the scale that we're collecting data
[00:04:09.837]it was pretty overwhelming
[00:04:11.125]and I see my role as providing direction
[00:04:14.261]for data in the life sciences.
[00:04:16.811]It's a very big, big sphere.
[00:04:18.797]It covers everything from biochemistry,
[00:04:22.325]genetics, all the way to plant imaging.
[00:04:26.637]So, it's a very broad area
[00:04:28.362]and so, my role is to choose those areas
[00:04:31.569]in that spectrum where I think the university
[00:04:34.466]can have a big impact.
[00:04:36.353]The definition of big data obviously depends
[00:04:38.858]on the discipline that you represent.
[00:04:41.200]For those of us in genetics,
[00:04:43.001]big data is taking hundreds of thousands of animals
[00:04:46.336]that each are measured with hundreds of thousands
[00:04:49.319]if not millions of DNA variants
[00:04:51.798]and also measured for upwards of 20 different phenotypes.
[00:04:55.326]So, our goal is to talk that big data
[00:04:57.870]and distill it into information
[00:04:59.836]that livestock producers can use
[00:05:01.542]to make more knowledgeable decisions
[00:05:03.782]that would increase the rate of genetic gain
[00:05:06.452]ultimately improving the efficiency of livestock production
[00:05:09.998]and helping meet the demands of consumers.
[00:05:13.597]So, producers are facing an increased challenge
[00:05:16.998]just related to the rate of technology adoption.
[00:05:21.674]We have new genomic selection tools available
[00:05:24.405]in the marketplace all the time,
[00:05:26.029]so for beef or swine producers,
[00:05:28.564]just staying abreast of new technologies
[00:05:30.634]and understanding how to use them appropriately
[00:05:33.167]has become a more cumbersome task.
[00:05:35.518]Our responsibility at the University of Nebraska
[00:05:38.363]is to make that task less cumbersome
[00:05:40.604]by helping to distill down the volumes of information
[00:05:44.420]that they're consuming into useful, simple tools
[00:05:48.623]that they can implement.
[00:05:50.389]We're proud of our faculty
[00:05:51.886]and the impact they are having on agriculture
[00:05:54.111]in Nebraska and around the world.
[00:05:56.631]They are working with our students to find solutions
[00:05:58.957]to help feed a global population.
[00:06:01.671]This year's publication on Big Data
[00:06:03.516]is a part of a series of publications
[00:06:06.558]that Strategic Discussions for Nebraska has produced.
[00:06:10.060]Others include Private and Public Collaborations,
[00:06:13.700]One Health Initiative,
[00:06:15.085]Beef Production and many other important topics.
[00:06:18.344]For more information, go to sdn.unl.edu.
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