Big Data for (Sm)all Farmers Workshop to be held in Ames Feb. 26-27

February 2nd, 2018

AMES, Iowa - An Iowa State University workshop will examine how Big Data can benefit agricultural producers Feb. 26-27 at the Scheman Center in Ames.

The Big Data for (Sm)all Farmers Workshop was organized to inform farmers of small and medium sized operations about current and future big data research, resources and technologies. The workshop will introduce data resources and technologies useful to farmers, regardless of scale. 

"Big data are an essential part of agriculture today. This workshop will help introduce farmers to experts, technical aspects of data and analytical tools that are available and could be developed and deployed to make small- and medium-sized farm and food enterprises more sustainable," said Joe Colletti, interim dean of Iowa State's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The workshop includes presentations and panel discussions with technology leaders, researchers and farmers. The focus is to address the specific needs for big data and technology in agriculture. The goal is to help ensure producers of all sizes and scales are not left behind as the age of Big Data moves forward. "Big data" is a term that describes the large volumes of data that inundate every aspect of business today. The workshop will help farmers understand sources of data that can be analyzed for insights that lead to better decisions and strategic business moves.

The workshop includes opening remarks by Parag Chitnis, deputy director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA. Other speakers include Robert Zabawa, research professor, Agricultural and Research Economics, Tuskegee University; Dennis Todey, director, Midwest Climate Hub, USDA; David Miller, director, Research and Commodity Services, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation; Kevin Price, executive vice president, Research and Technology Development, AgPixel LLC; Dan Frieberg, president, Premier Crop Systems, LLC; Conrad Bonsi, associate director, Experiment Station, College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences, Tuskegee University; and Olga Bolden-Tiller, assistant dean of development, College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences, Tuskegee University.

Experts from Iowa State University include Alejandro Plastina, assistant professor, economics; Priyanka Jayashankar, adjunct assistant professor, management, Pat Schnable, C.F. Distinguished Professor, agronomy and Plant Sciences Institute director; Sotirios Archontoulis, assistant professor, agronomy; Craig Chase, program manager, Local Foods Program; Kevin Kimle, director, Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative; Lie Tang, associate professor, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering; Liang Dong, associate professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering; and Mike Castellano, associate professor, agronomy.

More information and registration are available at

The workshop is a sponsored by the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. This workshop is supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Institute Foundational Program grant no. 2018-68006-27386 /project accession no. 1014729 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.


Roxanne Clemens, Agriculture Experiment Station, 515-294-8842,
Barb McBreen, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications, 515-294-0707,