Opening Plenary Keynote Speaker

Ranveer Chandra

Chief Scientist

Ranveer Chandra is the Chief Scientist at Microsoft Azure Global. His research has shipped in multiple Microsoft products, including Windows, Visual Studio, XBOX, and Azure. Ranveer is leading the FarmBeats, battery research, and TV white space research projects at Microsoft. His work on FarmBeats was featured by Bill Gates on GatesNotes, and he has been invited to present his research on FarmBeats to the Secretary of Agriculture, and on TV White Spaces to the FCC Chairman. Ranveer has published over 90 research papers, and has over 100 patents that have been granted by the USPTO. He has won several awards, including best paper awards, and the MIT Technology Review’s Top Innovators Under 35. Ranveer has an undergraduate degree from IIT Kharagpur, India and a PhD from Cornell University.

Ranveer Chandra

FarmBeats: Empowering Farmers with Affordable Digital Agriculture Solutions

Data-driven techniques help boost agricultural productivity by increasing yields, reducing losses and cutting down input costs. However, these techniques have seen sparse adoption owing to high costs of manual data collection and limited connectivity solutions. Our system, called FarmBeats, includes Cloud, IoT & AI innovations for agriculture that enables seamless collection and analysis of data across various sensors, cameras, drones, and satellites. In this talk, we will describe the system, and outline some of the AI challenges we are currently addressing for agriculture.

Thomas Frey

PrecisionAg Plenary Keynote Speaker

Thomas Frey

DaVinci Institute

Over the past decade, Futurist Thomas Frey has built an enormous following around the world based on his ability to develop accurate visions of the future and describe the opportunities ahead. Having started seventeen businesses himself and assisting on the development of hundreds more, the understanding he brings to his audiences is a rare blend of reality-based thinking coupled with a clear-headed visualization of the world ahead. Predicting the future has little value without understanding the driving forces behind the trends, subtle nuances that can be leveraged, and implications for both the people directly affected in the industry as well as others farther down the technological food chain.

Future of Agriculture - Soon to Become the Coolest Profession on Earth

Over the coming decade, smart clothing with real-time sensors will read everything from the fluctuation of our brainwaves, to micro changes in heartbeats, to gastro-digestive processes, to variations of skin perspiration levels. This constant monitoring of hundreds if not thousands of bodily nuances will translate into consumers making healthier food choices and, more importantly, choices tailored specifically to their individuals needs... or will they. Theoretically more information should help us make smarter decisions, but changing human behavior is never easy, and our dreams of using food to create a healthier society may amount o little more than micro changes than sweeping shifts. At the same time, agriculture is quickly becoming one of the world's most automated industries with huge opportunities to feed the coming micro industry revolution. In the middle of this automation-opportunity revolution, agriculture is set to emerge as the coolest profession on planet earth!


Closing Plenary Keynote Speaker

Ivan Dozier

State Conservationist
Natural Resources Conservation Service

Ivan Dozier has been the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service’s State Conservationist for Illinois since April of 2012. He was raised on his family’s farm in Southern Illinois where they produced grain and cattle.

Ivan’s educational background includes a B. S. in Agriculture from the University of Illinois (‘83) and an M.A. in Environmental Studies from the U of I Springfield (‘92). He started work with SCS/NRCS in 1983 as a part-time Soil Conservation Aide and was converted to a career Soil Conservationist position in 1984. Ivan’s previous body of work with NRCS includes experience as a County Soil Scientist, Soil Conservationist, District Conservationist, American Indian Liaison and Assistant State Conservationist for Programs.

Ivan is a past-President of the Illinois Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS). He served on the Illinois NRCS State Civil Rights Committee and on the National Civil Rights Committee as the America Indian Male representative. He is a former officer with the American Indian Council of Illinois and the past-President of the National American Indian Alaska Native Employee Association for NRCS. Ivan is also a veteran of the US Army Reserve. He graduated with honors from both Basic and Advanced Training. While in the Reserves he served as a medical lab specialist.

Ivan Dozier

Precision Agriculture and NRCS Conservation Programs - Cracking the Code so They Can Work Together

In this presentation, Mr. Dozier will provide an overview of current NRCS conservation programs--EQIP, CSP, ACEP, and RCPP (with a little CRP thrown in). He will explain how ag professionals and farmers can work through the alphabet soup of acronyms to see how these programs work. Learn how to find that sweet spot where production and conservation goals intersect for program eligibility. Acquire new skills to determine if there is a good fit for you or your clients and learn how NRCS program incentives can offset costs and potential risks associated with implementing and maintaining conservation practices.