SAS aims to help growers turn data into insights with a new agricultural technology business unit.
Analytics software and solutions company SAS is forging a new agricultural technology business unit to help growers and agribusiness leaders turn an exploding amount of farm and agricultural data into insights.
SAS is also enhancing agricultural research and talent development through its support of the North Carolina Plant Sciences Initiative at North Carolina State University (NC State).
SAS says there’s great potential for the use of AI and analytics in agriculture to improve plant health, soil productivity and crop yields. Connected farm devices enable automated decision support for growers, but also require protection of farm data.
“Growers are grappling with a bumper crop of data and it will only increase. More and more, that data will come from IoT devices that collect information on topography, soil quality, weather and livestock feed as well as images from crops such as sweet potatoes. Drones and smart tractors are becoming more common and generate useful data on crop yield and land surveys,” states the company.
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To meet the needs of growers, agronomists and others that make up the broad agribusiness spectrum, SAS will establish the new AgTech business unit with leaders from a variety of disciplines, both internally and externally, and through strategic partnerships like the one with NC State.
NC Plant Sciences Initiative
The NC Plant Sciences Initiative at NC State convenes experts from academia, government and industry to drive vital cross-disciplinary research that increases crop yields, creates new varieties, extends growing seasons, enhances sustainability, and produces new and improved technology.
As part of its support, SAS will embed full-time data scientists within the NC Plant Sciences Initiative to collaborate on various research efforts. The SAS Global Academic Program is also developing resources to help create the next crop of agricultural analytics experts.
“The NC Plant Sciences Initiative will enhance plant breeding and genetics, improve farm production practices, and advance the development and integration of precision agriculture techniques and technologies like drones, sensors, artificial intelligence and machine learning,” said College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean Richard Linton. “One of the initiative’s biggest challenges is our ability to collect and translate large amounts of complex data into useful information that can help researchers and farmers make better informed, real-time decisions. This new partnership with SAS will be pivotal in helping us harness the power of data to improve agricultural outcomes and provide global consumers a higher quality, more accessible food supply.”