Global leaders move IAA vision forward

On March 21-22, participants from around the world gathered in Coffey Hall to discuss plans and prospects for the International AgroInformatics Alliance (IAA), a CFANS-MSI catalyzed international initiative. The IAA partners, with leadership from Philip Pardey, Jim Wilgenbusch, and Kevin Silverstein, worked towards finalizing suitable governance, membership, and operational structures. The group also outlined plans for the novel data sharing platform IAA has under construction, and discussed a suite of ever-expanding tools that will be made available to IAA partners – including those that enable data cleaning, crop pedigree analysis, and data visualization and inter-connectivity apps. 

To illustrate the analytical possibilities of IAA a number of use-cases are being developed that address questions such as: Since the heart healthy component of oats, beta glucan, is heavily influenced by both environment and genetics, can we manage oat production to meet consumer nutritional demands? With increased globalization expanding the threat of crop disease outbreaks, can we improve the resilience of maize productivity gains by managing for pests and diseases that are currently problems plus those likely to become problems? And other questions around waste of stored maize due to aflatoxin; the breeding and commercialization implications of locally sourcing malting barley for new microbrewery operations; improving the analytics of predictive farming; tools to conduct location-sensitive, multi-peril risk analytics of the crop pest diseases confronting crop producers; and tools to analyze crop varietal trial data from the US, Australia and around the world that improve crop breeding and crop commercialization decisions. Discussion also centered on funding opportunities and follow-up to visits made to USDA-NIFA, FFAR, USAID, and GRDC, and discussions planned with the Gates Foundation and NSF.