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Abstract: Modern agriculture is highly technical. In order to feed a growing population with finite resources, farmers, researchers, and agricultural technology providers (ATPs) have turned to technological solutions. From precision agriculture (PA), vertical farming, genetically modified organisms, to farm management, there is no aspect of the agricultural industry that has not been touched by technology.
But with the rise of agricultural technology has not always gone smoothly. For one, these technologies are often designed without input from the farmer, thus the usability of the devices deployed is lacking. In order to use the technology, farmers must sign user agreements, which may waive their rights to their own data and prevent them from fixing their own equipment. The promise of PA has been found to be overstated, as the quality of data collected to generate the algorithms can be lacking and the cost of the equipment prohibitive to many small farms.
This talk will discuss some projects that are addressing the gaps in ag technology. There are projects where we are using citizen science in order to increase the ground truthing data collection for ag. There are national programs where we are working with farmers to adopt existing technologies for them to use more easily. There are policy makers who are investigating how we can better regulate the use of big data in agriculture while protecting the rights of farmers. It will also include a forward look at priorities and challenges that lie ahead.
Bio: Dr. Brianna B. Posadas is a CRA Computing Innovation Fellow in the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education at Virginia Tech. Her research is focused on the intersection of agriculture, technology, and user-centered design. When she completed her PhD at the University of Florida, she was the first Latina to earn a doctorate from the department of Computer and Information Science and Engineering. Dr. Posadas also received her master of science in agricultural and biological engineering at UF and her bachelor of science in engineering from Harvey Mudd College.
Dr. Posadas currently works with the AgrAbility and HARVEST programs at Virginia Tech continuing her work in user-centered design in agriculture. In addition to addressing usability and accessibility of precision agriculture technologies, she is studying how to best utilize big data in agriculture while also protecting the privacy and security rights of growers. Her previous work in agriculture includes using hyperspectral imaging techniques to detect AMB in Fuji apples in Korea and creating a crowdsourcing platform to collect ground truth data on lambsquarters in Washington D.C. Dr. Posadas has also worked in technology policy studying predictive policing, pre-trial risk assessments, and how social media affects communities of color.