InfoAg 2021 Presentation

Grand ABC
Tue, Aug 3, 2021
1:20pm to 2:00pm

Autonomy/Robotics Panel


Troy Fiechter


As an engineer and farmer, Troy has worked to intersect practicality and innovation to create value on his own commercially sized farm and for many retailers that serve other farmers.  He has started doing this by tightening the screws on fertility with the use of robotics and patented sampling equipment.  He then started Rogo Ag LLC.  Rogo has rapidly expanded to serve retailer's soil sampling needs.  Troy practices how to meaningfully communicate value to farmers and challenge an industry in an area that hasn't changed in many years.

Nick Morrow

VP of Product
Verge Ag

Nick Morrow is VP of Product at Verge Ag. He is responsible for product strategy and development with a focus on grower solutions that simplifies farm planning to reduce in-field decisions. Nick brings over 17 years of agriculture technology expertise, encompassing remote sensing, ag retail sales enablement, and equipment technology. He started his career in 2003 focused on remote sensing collecting and delivering timely, high resolution imagery to advisors as a decision support tool for scouting. At John Deere and then at Raven, he promoted the value of automated data transfer between equipment and 3rd party systems. At Agrian, he led the product team and was responsible for designing, developing and implementing go-to-market strategy for all Agrian products and services. Nick is passionate about leveraging ag technology to make growers’ lives easier through automation and delightful user experiences. He lives in Sioux Falls, SD and is a graduate of Iowa State University in Aerospace Engineering and Colorado State University Masters of Business.

Santosh Pitla

Associate Professor
University of Nebraska Lincoln

Santosh Pitla is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Santosh’s research is in the area of agricultural robotics, control architectures for safe and secure operation of autonomous equipment, and tractor power characterization for multiple operations. Currently, he directs the Advanced Machinery Systems Laboratory (AMSL) at the BSE department comprising of a team six graduate students and five undergraduate students. AMSL lab houses three tiered robotic platforms for developing individual and multi-robot control architectures. These three tiered robotic platforms are operated in greenhouses, and research fields. Santosh also has a teaching appointment and teaches Sensors and Controls in Agri-Industries, Electricity, Hydraulic Power, and Embedded Control Systems to mechanization management and agricultural engineering students.

Craig Rupp

Sabanto, Inc.

Craig started his career in 1988 as a hardware engineer at Motorola, designing and developing the first GSM and Iridium mobile stations and John Deere in 2002, developing the Starfire receiver and Greenstar display. 

In 2002, Craig founded ATG, providing RF manufacturing software, acquired by National Instruments in 2005. As a Chief Measurement Architect, he developed AM, FM, RDS, Bluetooth, GSM, EDGE, CDMA2k, EVDO, WCDMA, and LTE solutions.

In 2012, Craig founded 640 Labs, developing the 640 Drive, acquired by Monsanto in 2014. He then made his FieldView Drive one of the most ubiquitous and low-cost data collection devices in agriculture.

In 2018, Craig founded Sabanto, a company that provides autonomous solutions. He was the first to autonomously plant a farmer’s field in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois, and Indiana.

Raised on a farm in Iowa, he earned his BSEE at Iowa State in 1988 and MSEE from Illinois Tech in 1990. He currently has 14 patents.

Dominic Walkes

Director of Strategic Initiatives
Raven Industries

In 2012, Dominic began working for Raven Industries in Sioux Falls, SD, in the Applied Technology Division, working on agriculture-based products that utilize GPS and automated machine controls. Throughout his tenure Dominic has lead a number of technical and commercial teams and currently serves as the Director of Strategic Initiatives helping to establish partnerships, relationships and solutions for the future needs of farmers.