Wallaces Farmer

Doug Houser will communicate the importance and availability of digital technology.

February 28, 2024

2 Min Read
combine in cornfield
POWERING INNOVATION: Digital agriculture is making tasks such as combining more efficient. Iowa State University has increased its emphasis in this area by hiring Doug Houser as Extension digital ag specialist. Farm Progress

Doug Houser says he is passionate about digital agriculture and what it can do for farmers and the ag industry.

As the newly hired digital ag Extension specialist at Iowa State University, his focus will be on communicating digital tools and solutions that can solve problems and improve the lives of Iowans.

“There are many great developments that have already happened with digital technology. I look forward to breaking down what exists, and how it can be put to use on Iowa farms,” Houser says. He previously spent more than 20 years with Corteva, most recently working as a digital business manager.

Houser has on-farm experience and knows the importance of technology and precision farming for today’s agricultural industry.

New tech solves problems

“With digital agriculture, we’re solving old problems with new technology,” he notes. “We have drones that can apply fungicide or plant cover crops, and autonomous vehicles that can pull implements. It’s exciting to see the new things that are being made available to farmers.”

Houser is part of the Digital Ag Innovation Lab at Iowa State — a robust group of ag engineers and specialists dedicated to researching and showcasing improvements in digital technology.

With Houser’s help, the team plans to expand its popular Planter University program to include combines, sprayers and drones.

ISU’s Digital Innovation Lab works with the ag industry in developing technology and products to make agriculture more productive, efficient and profitable.

“We believe industry partnerships hold the key to reaching farmers with our innovations,” Houser says. “Examples include developing and improving technology, such as smart sensors and controls, precision agriculture, machinery electronics, CAN bus technology, biomass logistics and more.”

In addition to helping create new technology for the ag industry and farmers to use, ISU’s Digital Ag Innovation Lab provides opportunities for graduate students to further their education.

Helpful industry connections

“We’re thrilled to have Doug join our team and bring along his extensive experience working in the digital ag sector,” says Matt Darr, director of the lab and the BioCentury Research Farm at ISU. “Doug’s industry experience, knowledge of agronomy and ag technology, and his strong connections throughout Iowa will make him a valuable contributor to our ISU Extension and Outreach mission.”

Houser has a bachelor’s in ag systems technology and an MBA from ISU. He is based at the ISU BioCentury Research Farm, located between Ames and Boone. He can be reached at [email protected].

At a nearby location, the ISU Research Park at Ames is building a new multi-tenant collaboration space in the park with an anticipated fall completion date. The Alliant Energy Agriculture Innovation Lab will provide more than 85,000 square feet for ISU’s College of Agriculture Digital Ag Innovation Team and ag-based business tenants to access technology, research and development.

Swoboda is editor emeritus of Wallaces Farmer.

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