The seventh annual Precision Ag Action Summit was held Jan. 15-16 at North Dakota Farmers Union. Chris Aarhus / NDFU

North Dakota Farmers Union and Praxis Strategy Group hosted the seventh annual Precision Agriculture Action Summit on Jan. 15-16 at the NDFU Conference Center.

NDFU Cooperative Specialist Jason McKenney said the event was a success.

“The summit turned out very well,” he said. “There were 215 registered participants. The participants were producers, educators and others from the industry. Forty-four percent of the attendees came for the first time.”

McKenney said the conference covered a variety of topics and how they relate to precision ag. The theme was, “Creating certainty in times of volatility.”

“We had sessions on how lenders value precision ag and using it in the decision-making process,” he said. “Site-specific fertilizer application, and how precision ag has a role in wildlife management and wetland regulation. Data storage, imagery and longterm weather forecasting were also discussed.”

The conference started with remarks from Dr. Sreekala Bajwa, who is chair of the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering for North Dakota State University.

Dr. Terry Griffin, in the ag department at Kansas State, gave the keynote speech and was moderator for a panel on precision ag with local farmers. Lynn Paulson of Bell Bank followed by speaking about how ag lenders value precision ag.

Breakouts were held after lunch the first day at the Quality Inn. There were four categories: nutrient management; Unmanned Aircraft Systems and imagery; finance and operations management; and data access and data management. Each category had four different breakouts.

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring welcomed event-goers the morning of day two. Jordan Shockley of the University of Kentucky (profitability), Jim Hedges of Winfield United (utilizing data) and NDSU Soil Health Specialist Chris Augustin (cover crops, soil) covered their areas of expertise during the early morning session.

Ryan Raguse of Myriad Mobile (technology) and Kaia Watkins of Flint Group (big data) also spoke before lunch.

Drew Lerner, Senior Ag Meteorologist at World Weather, Inc., gave a presentation after lunch about soil moisture, winter crop conditions and the upcoming weather pattern outlook.

National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Skunes provided an update on their organization’s efforts, and a four-person panel on driving precision ag with education and training capped the two-day event.

Participants had the option of completing a survey for a free iPad, which Joe Blaufuss of Valley City won.

– Chris Aarhus, NDFU