ICGA and university researchers work together to address food security and agronomic efficiency issues.
The Illinois Corn Growers Association is taking a small step with potentially much larger applications for food security and agronomic efficiency. The farmer-led association is working with NASA and University of Illinois researchers to develop a Farmer Data Cooperative that brings together practical farmer knowledge, internationally recognized data scientists, and the most advanced technology available.
The Farmer Data Cooperative is a working relationship between farmers and a select group of University of Illinois researchers utilizing NASA data to develop decision support tools. The tools will predict and address inefficiencies in agricultural management practices, help protect farmers and landowners from regulation and/or litigation, and support development of improved crop insurance products.
Like a traditional cooperative, participating farmers are part-owners in the enterprise and have the right and responsibility of influencing the development of new work products, services, and technologies that result from the partnership. Unlike a normal cooperative in which customer-owners invest in the cooperative with a cash investment, farmer-owners would buy into the data cooperative by authorizing use of their farming data for development, calibration, and validation of new technology tools. Farmer-owners would also share in any profits generated as a result of commercialized technologies.
ICGA sees potential for great agronomic, financial, and environmental gains as a result of partnering with leading University researchers to create targeted technological solutions to specific agronomic challenges.
Initially, ICGA expects that farmers participating in the Precision Conservation Management program (a farmer service program led by ICGA) will be among the first offered the opportunity to participate in this landmark Farmer Data Cooperative, with the chance to buy in offered to other farmers in Illinois as the program expands.