The Digital Agriculture Spoke of the Midwest Big Data Hub seeks to organize academic, industrial, and governmental sectors around the development of policies and best practices for data science and Big Data applications in agriculture, with a particular focus on automating the Big Data life cycle for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and for plant sciences, phenomics, and genomics.

Historically, agricultural revolutions in cultivation, social organization, and industrialization have provided the means to increase food production. However, future revolutions must leverage the advantages provided by the modern information society. The Digital Agriculture: UASPSE (Unmanned Aircraft Systems, PlantSciencies and Education) project will serve as a catalyst for this data-driven revolution, which will be broad and societal in nature and address the triple-bottom line of being economically viable, socially acceptable, and environmentally sensible. Whereas the initial focus areas are specific, the resulting best practices and partnership-building will translate to and enable other areas such as remote sensing systems and farm management techniques.

An expected outcome is improved and efficient use of UAS, imaging, and genomics in agricultural sciences, ultimately leading to a more sustainable global food and nutrition system. Coordination of these activities will be enhanced through this Digital Agriculture open web portal of data science resources, designed to integrate existing information silos, facilitate collaboration, and contribute to workforce development. Educational activities and tools will be leveraged from pre-existing traineeship programs and collaborative entities, and broadened with newly developed annual workshops. Special issue-teams of academic, industrial, and governmental representatives will be used to conduct deep-learning analysis of project educational activities to identify and refine mechanisms for broadening and diversifying participation.

Through these efforts, the collaboration will improve access to data assets, train a workforce with relevant skills and expertise, and will contribute to solving the Sustainable Global Food and Nutrition Security challenge.