Working toward earning his Precision Agriculture Technology certificate from the University of Missouri, Bo Young understands the importance of implementing precision practices on the farm.
Young, who also is a climate activation specialist with The Climate Corp., works with farmers and producers, helping them incorporate Climate FieldView technology in their operations.
Young and The Climate Corp. are now partnering with MU Extension and the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources to bring important technology and datasets to the CAFNR Agricultural Research Centers.
"I really think precision agriculture is everything," Young says. "We've been tasked with feeding a growing population with fewer resources, and that means we have to be smarter about what we're doing and how we're doing it. We have to make farms more profitable. Precision agriculture allows us to manage our inputs and get the most out of the data we receive."
Off the ground
Young began working with The Climate Corp. in early 2019 and helped facilitate the partnership with MU in June. He was able to equip 12 of the research centers with iPads and hardware for their farming equipment, and those centers are working on collecting data.
"At the Forage Systems Research Center [in Linneus], we selected a 30-acre field and took a total of 30 soil samples," Young says. "We took those samples to the soil testing lab on the MU campus, got results back and uploaded them to the Climate software platform.
"We can now easily see where there are deficiencies, and we'll be able to make improvements and adjustments as we move forward. We're also going to use the data to create variable-rate prescriptions and track their success."
That platform gives research center superintendents the analytical tools to make smart farming decisions on the fly, he says.
"The data will allow us to analyze what actually impacted yield, what worked and what didn't," Young says. "You get really valuable insights into what's really going on."
Earn a certificate
The partnership also serves individuals looking to earn the Certificate in Precision Agriculture Technology through CAFNR's Agricultural Systems Management program.
Precision agriculture is a key part of the ASM curriculum. Industry leaders want students who could become their future employees to have a deeper understanding of precision agriculture.
Leon Schumacher, ASM program chair; Kent Shannon, MU Extension field specialist; and former instructor Brian Robertson developed a MU educational certificate to meet those demands.
They took their two existing precision agriculture courses and created two more, both of which go more in-depth into precision agriculture practices. With four courses, the ASM program, which is located within the Division of Food Systems and Bioengineering, now offers a Precision Agriculture Technology certificate.
The certificate not only gives students the opportunity to add to their resume, but it also gives them a deeper and hands-on approach to precision agriculture. There also is a chance to network with industry leaders.
"The idea behind a certificate at Mizzou is that you take 12 credits that are focused in a specific area," Schumacher says. "It's different than a minor. A minor is for a degree program. A certificate allows a student in a degree program to actually differentiate and show on their transcript that they have a very focused area that they have studied.”