2019 Conference Agenda

Monday, January 14

Breakfast begins at 10:30.
Buses begin boarding at Hyatt Regency Lake Washington hotel at 11:15 a.m.
Buses depart Hyatt Regency Lake Washington hotel promptly at 11:30 a.m. in route to Microsoft Conference Center.

IoT for Earth 

Pre-Conference Summit

Get the latest insights from Microsoft IoT leaders that are shaping the future of cloud, big data, and AI in agriculture. Immerse yourself with cutting-edge tools, technology and data-driven experiences that are helping transform our planet and farming communities over the next decade.

Location: The Microsoft Conference Center

Tuesday, January 15

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.

Networking Breakfast 

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.

Welcome  |  Key Questions We Need to Ask About Precision Adoption

James C. SuleckiChief Content Officer and Head of Global Precision Initiative, Meister Media Worldwide

A warm welcome from Meister Media Worldwide and our Global Precision Initiative, and a brief inventory of key questions to be considered at this watershed moment for precision agriculture and digital farming. This kickoff to the 2019 VISION Conference will provide additional background and context as we begin our two days of discussions.

9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Opening Keynote: Innovate or Perish

 Moderator: Jim Sulecki 

Dr. Kevin Freiberg, Best-selling Author, Speaker, Advisor, Freibergs.com

Technology and the competition move at such fast speed today that any business can be rendered irrelevant in a breathtakingly short time. Today more than ever, to stop innovating is to stop moving entirely – unless we embrace being uncomfortable and make the continuing evolution of our products and our processes a key priority on every day’s working agenda. Noted business speaker and international best-selling author Dr. Kevin Freiberg will kick off the Vision Conference with a message sure to leave you energized for our two days together and braced to seize the unprecedented opportunities that are right before us.

Sponsored By
10:00 – 10:30 a.m.

Networking Break

10:30 – 11:15 a.m.

Precision Irrigation: Managing Ag’s Most Threatened Resource

 Moderator: Paul Schrimpf 

Fred Ziari, President, IRZ Consulting

Perhaps no crop input is more threatened than the availability of quality water, especially in key production areas for specialty crops. Yet an array of newer technologies – sensors, IoT, microprocessors, smart nozzles, etc. – offers hope. But how will all these pieces come together, and how readily will these technologies be deployed, not just in the U.S. but in other parts of the world? You’ll walk away with an understanding of how readily agriculture will be able to respond to the inevitable water challenges of the future.

11:15 – 12:00 p.m.

Mind-Bending Precision Developments from Around the World

 Moderator: Paul Schrimpf 

Marc Vanacht, Strategic Business Consultant, AG Business Consultants

From China to Latin America and everywhere in between, precision agriculture and digital farming are taking on a wide range permutations arising from unique regional needs and creative adaptations of technology. Put it all together and it adds up to a compelling picture of technology in service to agriculture like never before. You’ll walk away with ideas and inspiration for your own corner of the world.

12:00 – 1:30 p.m.

Networking Lunch

1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Robotics and Automation for a Labor-Starved World

 Moderator: Jim Sulecki 

Eva Blanchard Research and Development Engineer, Appareo Systems
Ben Scott-Robinson Co-founder, Small Robot Company
Josh Ruiz  V.P. Ag Operations, Church Brothers Farms

Robotics and automation are the potential answer to every labor-starved grower’s prayers – but where, realistically, do we stand on practical development? Breaking down this big, diverse, but highly promising sector, we’ll examine which solutions specifically are on the two- or three-year horizon for practical adaptation in agriculture, how and where they will be deployed, and snags that may impede their progress. You’ll get your best estimate yet at how soon robotics are likely to impact your and your customers’ business.

2:30 – 2:45 p.m.

Driving Innovation with AI, Data, and Analytics

 Moderator: Paul Schrimpf 

Jeff Keiser Lead Offering Manager Agribusiness Solutions IBM Watson, The Weather Company

Artificial intelligence is helping provide deeper insights into crop yield and management practices, and IoT data from farm equipment, satellites, drones and global data sets are driving real time situational awareness. In this session, IBM’s Jeff Keiser will how the convergence of artificial intelligence, big data, and predictive analytics will have a positive impact across the full agricultural ecosystem and lead to important future innovation in crop production and agriculture logistics.

2:45 – 3:45 p.m.

The Practical State of Data: Are We Ready for the Next Major Leap?

 Moderator: Paul Schrimpf 

Jeremy Wilson, Technology Specialist, Crop IMS LLC

What to do with field data? This area has been discussed at length for numerous years and is now crowded with overzealous start-ups, and the agricultural industry is in dire need of a data management solution. We’ll present three or four likely scenarios which may finally solve this seemingly endless riddle. Head home with a far greater handle on how much longer data pain points are likely to persist and when data will start working for us rather than the other way around.

3:45 – 4:15 p.m.

Networking Break

4:15 – 5:15 p.m.

Bankrolling Precision: Who Pays?

 Moderator: Jim Sulecki 

Jonah Kolb, Managing Member, Moore & Warner Ag Group, LLC
Kyle Welborn, Managing Director, The Yield Lab
Kenneth Scott Zuckerberg, Senior V.P., Sector Mgr. & Senior Strategist, Wells Fargo 

Many stakeholders have their hands on the strings of precision agriculture and digital farming – not only producers, service providers, tech companies, and investors but also increasingly powerful land investors/managers and food/feed buyers. But the level of investment needed to continue propelling agriculture to a digital future is only going to increase. How will the future be bankrolled? You’ll walk away with a better handle on the economic and financial terms of engagement needed to keep digital agriculture moving forward.

5:15 p.m.

Networking Reception

Wednesday, January 16

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.

Networking Breakfast

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.

The Vision 5: Trends To Follow in 2019

Paul SchrimpfGroup Editor, Meister Media Worldwide

For two decades, Meister Media’s PrecisionAg brand has sustained its coverage of the ever-changing world of digital farming, from the dot-com boom and bust to the recent rapid escalation in capital investment from outside of agriculture. Group Editor Paul Schrimpf takes us on a brisk journey through precision agriculture evolution, and shares the five key trends to watch for in the year ahead.

9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Day Two Keynote: The Coming Second Wave of Ag Tech

 Moderator: Paul Schrimpf 

Daniel Vradenburg, Board Chairman, Cavallo Ventures

The first wave of precision farming and ag tech has been exciting, but it has delivered less in the way of enduring value to farmers than was originally hoped. The second wave of ag tech, however, is poised to cause major disruptions in at least five key areas: water; synthetic pesticides and fertilizer; farm equipment; farm connectivity and production optimization, and the intersection of food, nutrition, and healthcare cost. You’ll hear first-hand the ambitions of four new startups and gain a far greater understanding of non-traditional companies planning to make seismic changes to agriculture.

Sponsored By
10:00 – 10:30 a.m.

Networking Break

10:30 – 11:15 a.m.

The Coming Impact of Rural Broadband and Connectivity

 Moderator: Jim Sulecki 

Tyler Mark, Assistant Professor, Production Economics, University of Kentucky

Twenty years after home connections to the internet became a virtual necessity, fully 29% of U.S. farms and 39% of U.S. rural households lack high-speed connection – severely hampering the free flow of data and crimping farmer adoption of precision technologies. But with 5G in the pipeline and realization building that federal intervention on a par with rural electrification a century ago may be necessary, hope is on the horizon. Learn when high-speed connectivity in agriculture is likely to reach critical mass and what it is likely to mean across the board for the future of ag technology.

11:15 – 11:30 a.m.

Where to Focus Our Energy

 Moderator: Paul Schrimpf 

Chris Rhodes Global Director of Business Development AGCO Fuse

With technology becoming more immersed in daily life, we have come to expect more innovation, more user friendly experiences, and more technology at our finger tips. In our personal lives and in business, it is no longer enough for technology to enable data collection and connection; we increasingly expect technology to remove repetitive tasks from our workloads, leaving us free to focus on higher-level tasks. Farmers, like others, are increasingly relying on smart technology products and services to increase productivity and profitability.

11:30 – 12:30 p.m.

The Revolution in Sensing and Decision-Support Systems

 Moderator: Paul Schrimpf 

Renato Hersz, Strategy and Corporate Development Director, Solinftec
Young Kim, CEO, Digital Harvest
Jordan Winkler, Director of Platform Business Development, Descartes Labs, Inc.

Agriculture always will be about keen decision-making built on intuition, boots-on-the-ground observation, and empirical data. However, the growing availability and affordability of a wide range of sensors, predictive analytics, and decision-making platforms promise to both automate and supercharge farm operation. Learn how emerging technologies are poised to revolutionize day-to-day functions of food production.

12:30 – 1:45 p.m.

Networking Lunch

1:45 – 2:30 p.m.

Data on the Vine: Blockchain in a Real-World Production Environment

 Moderator: David Eddy 

Tyler Scheid, Solutions Consultant, Source Advisory
Todd Berg, Director Product Management & Customer Success, HarvestMark Division of Trimble, Inc.

Blockchain holds a world of promise for agriculture, tracking not only the movement of product but also money and financing and vital production information. Tomorrow already is today, especially in some high-value vineyards. In this hands-on session you’ll learn how a grower and a supplier can team up to expedite the flow of data and information.

2:30 – 2:45 p.m.

Update from United Soybean Board

 Moderator: David Eddy 

U.S. soy end users are increasingly concerned with the sustainability of products they purchase. On-farm technology and data collection methods provide soybean farmers a way to demonstrate continuous improvement toward industry sustainability metrics.

2:45 – 3:30 p.m.

Technology, Data, and the Next Food Safety Scare

 Moderator: David Eddy 

Dr. Trevor Suslow Vice President, Produce Safety, Produce Marketing Association

Breaches in the food safety system may never be fully eliminated, but technologies like blockchain and other advancements in data technology and data sharing promise to pinpoint contamination sources faster and vastly reduce future impacts. In this session you’ll get updated on the many exciting developments over the past year in the area of traceability for the fresh produce distribution channel.

3:30 – 4:00 p.m.

Networking Break

4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Executive Grower Fireside Chat

 Moderator: David Eddy 

Panelists:

Sean Gilbert, President, Gilbert Orchards
Dan Plath,
Vice President, Washington Fruit and Produce Co.
Danny Royer, Agriculture Executive Consultant, California’s Central Valley
Patrick Smith, Vice President, B. T. Loftus Ranches, Inc.

Growers ultimately are on the front lines of agriculture. It’s they who must select technologies, deploy them in their operations, retool their staffs to manage the integration, and ensure their investment pays off. A panel of executive growers reflects on what they’ve learned at the Vision Conference and provides vital insight on what agriculture’s most catalytic sector is thinking and what it feels it most needs.

5:00 p.m.

Conference Adjourns