Many consider that precision agriculture has the capability to enhance the efficiency of agriculture while promoting environmental stewardship. For this potential to be realized, however, any existing problems need to be resolved. The critical factor for the sustainable adoption of precision agriculture is enhancement of farmer profitability. Improved decision-making tools must more than pay for themselves and be "user friendly."
The College of Agriculture is committed to providing the level of objective research, teaching, and extension on precision agriculture needed by producers. The Precision Agriculture Issue Team is providing a focus for our program in this important area. Research is providing considerable insights into data (including accuracy and season-to-season consistency) from yield monitors and possible uses of these data.
It is essential that Iowa State University provide students with an appreciation of precision agriculture, including both theoretical and practical aspects. Although Iowa State University is a leader in offering courses in precision agriculture, more needs to be done. The number of students taking courses that include precision agriculture will be increased. This will be achieved by adding more sections in existing courses, creating more courses, and including precision agriculture to a greater extent in existing courses.
Iowa State University's Extension programs on precision agriculture range from a major regional symposium to a comprehensive series of workshops offered throughout Iowa.
These are but the first steps in providing a higher level of service to producers. The College of Agriculture is fortunate to have the strength of faculty and staff who are and will make a real difference.
This article originally appeared on page 6 of the IC-480 (4c Precision Ag Edition) -- April 9, 1998 issue.