The Auburn University College of Agriculture and its fellow land-grant universities throughout the Southeast are jointly hosting a conference next month to address the potential of artificial intelligence, robotics and automation in agriculture.
Titled “Envisioning 2050 in the Southeast: AI-driven Innovations in Agriculture,” the conference will be held March 9-11 at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center thanks to funding from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
“The Envisioning 2050 in the Southeast: AI-Driven Innovations in Agriculture conference will bring together academics, industry and stakeholders to share their expertise and develop a vision for the future,” said Arthur Appel, interim associate dean of research for the College of Agriculture. “Conference speakers include AI leaders from IBM, NIVIDIA and John Deere, as well as academics from across the country. Attendees will be able to learn about the depth and breadth of AI in agriculture from the experts who are making the promise of AI a reality.”
The caliber of speakers scheduled to attend is one of the highlights of this conference, according to co-organizer Brenda Ortiz, professor and Alabama Extension specialist in the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences at Auburn.
Speakers include Hendrik Hamann, a Distinguished Research Staff Member and Chief Scientist for the Future of Climate in IBM Research; Mark Chaney, engineering manager of the automation delivery teams at Intelligent Solutions Group at John Deere; Steven Thomson, a national program leader with the USDA National Institute Food and Agriculture; and dozens more.
Auburn President-elect Christopher Roberts, currently dean of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, will give the opening remarks.
Ortiz said the invited speakers from academia, the federal government and the industry will share their work in areas such as crop production, plant and animal breeding, climate, agricultural extension, pedagogy, food processing and supply chain, livestock management and more.
“This conference is multipurpose,” Ortiz said. “The primary purpose is to share knowledge, expertise and resources among Southeastern universities, stakeholders and industries on artificial intelligence-driven innovations that can be applied to agriculture.”
This two-and-a-half-day conference will include a combination of invited plenary presentations, two-panel sessions and breakout sessions that include invited oral presentations, facilitated working sessions, a poster session and a pre-conference workshop on current and advanced AI-driven data analysis.
Kati Migliaccio, co-organizer of the conference and professor and chair of the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Florida, said the timing of the conference is perfect.
“This is an opportune time to host this conference focusing on AI in agriculture in the Southeast because of the resources invested in AI, the state of innovation of AI in agriculture and the critical need to adapt agriculture for current world challenges, including labor, nutrition, energy and climate,” she said.
“It brings together expertise from all sectors—industry, academics, government and stakeholders—to focus on agriculture innovation with AI, particularly for the Southeast. The format of this conference was created to allow for knowledge sharing, as well as networking and greater exploration for future endeavors. Attending this event will provide the ‘spark’ for further innovation and collaboration among those with AI and agricultural interests across professions and across disciplines.”
Ortiz said in-person participation will allow networking, discussions for future collaboration and first-hand knowledge exchange. For those who cannot attend in person, a limited, virtual option will be available that will include access to plenary and breakout sessions.
More details and registration information are available on the conference website.
(Written by Kristen Bowman)