Research idea important for realizing the power of data to advance conservation:
Among the research programs/projects/ideas introduced by participants in the breakout room, the one I want to highlight focuses on understanding education and training requirements. An imagined transition to next-generation technology suggests a need to train and re-train workers on farms and in off-farm service businesses. Beyond human capital, we also touched on the broader challenge of developing new organizational capabilities to function and lead in a world characterized by digital agriculture and precision conservation. This problem statement can be linked to research questions such as, what are the education and training implications of the division of labor between on-farm and off-farm actors in different commodity sectors, on farms of different sizes, and in different regions. How can public-sector education programming complement training provided by firms?
Research response to a specific policy challenge/opportunity:
Our group focused discuss on issue #1 – adoption of digital tools that advance conservation
Public policy, including the Farm Bill, was identified as a potential resource to support adoption (EQIP), but it was also identified as a potential impediment. Policy must allow flexibility, which farmers need to do innovative things.
Risks as perceived by farmers’ is a constraint to adoption. Here we identified data pooling as a potential way to reduce risk. If farmers and other actors in production systems collect and share data, and the data can be focused on decision-support, uncertainty about adoption of novel production practices can decrease. Here we see a bridge between an ambition to advance adoption and the problems of data standards and data access.
Thanks to Gary, Juan, Jubing, and Bernie. Please add and refine, as you choose.