February 26-27, 2018 | Scheman Building, Ames, Iowa

The Big Data for Sm(all) Farmers Workshop is a program informing farmers of small and medium sized operations about current and future big data research, resources, and technologies available for agriculture across all types of enterprises. The workshop includes presentations, panel discussions, and an exchange of information and ideas with technology leaders, researchers, and other farmers about the specific needs for data and technology in agriculture. The goal is to help ensure producers of all sizes and scales are not left behind as the age of Big Data moves forward in U.S. agriculture.

Program highlights

  • Opening presentation: Dr. Parag R. Chitnis, deputy director, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture
  • Preliminary results of the Making Data Count: Electronic Data Access, Use, and Needs in Farming surveys conducted by Iowa State University and Tuskegee University
  • Flash talks from researchers and industry leaders on data tools for weather, marketing, crop production, livestock sensors and software, and data ownership
  • Farmer panel discussing uses and needs of data in agriculture
  • Technology panel with presentations from a variety of innovative industry leaders and researchers with time for audience questions and interaction
  • Poster session and displays highlighting ongoing research
  • Concurrent workshops with facilitated discussions: (select two)
    • Weather data, technology and resources
    • Marketing of agricultural products
    • Soils
  • Visit the program page for speaker details and workshop schedule

Who should attend the workshop?

  • Farmers operating small and medium-sized agricultural operations (crops and livestock)
  • Farmers producing specialty crops and/or using alternative production methods for crops and livestock
  • Farmers marketing products to local outlets (restaurants, groceries, roadside stands pick-your-own, etc.)
  • Farmers from under-represented and immigrant groups and diverse ethnic communities
  • Anyone with an interest in innovative uses of new and emerging data technologies in all aspects of Iowa agriculture

What are the objectives of the Big Data for (Sm)all Farmers Workshop?

After attending this workshop, attendees will be able to

  • Better understand current and future uses for data resources and related technologies that could help increase the efficiency and profitability of their farming operations.
  • Identify data resources and technologies they believe should be developed to increase the profitability of their operations.
  • Identify entrepreneurial opportunities in developing data resources and technologies for agricultural production.


The workshop is a product of a research partnership between Iowa State University and Tuskegee University to explore farmers’ needs for data resources and technologies in Iowa and the South. This workshop is supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Institute Foundational Program [grant no. 2018-68006-27386 /project accession no. 1014729] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.


Presented by