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SPECIAL SESSION: Bottling breakthroughs: How industry creates plant health products from scientific innovation

Taking the shortcut from lab to field: Disseminating research findings through software.
Chip Franzen - Granular, Inc.. Emma Fuller- Granular

Getting the results and recommendations from researchers into the hands of growers has historically been a difficult process. There are only so many extension agents, and farmers may not know which publications contain the most up-to-date recommendations for their plants and ecologies. The digital ag industry presents a new opportunity to apply research to millions of acres through software. In this new information dissemination model, researchers encode their findings as datasets, data scientists train machine learning models on these datasets, software engineers put the trained models on phones, and growers apply them directly in the field. Widespread adoption of digital ag tools will allow extension agents to know what’s happening with growers in their area in near real-time, and allow them to focus their efforts to make the highest possible impact. Granular is currently working on one such project: identifying corn and soy diseases. Instead of an extension agent learning about a new disease, then teaching farmers how to identify and treat it, growers can download an app, get an instant diagnosis, contacts for local experts, and links to relevant literature.