National Food and Ag Business Conference to Dive Deep into Data Usage


Mike Gunderson and Brady Brewer

At this year’s National Conference for Food and Agribusiness there will be a farmer focus but also a focus on the entire ag value chain, and how data is shaping that chain. Purdue University’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business is hosting the conference in West Lafayette on November 6-7.

“This isn’t big data, this is looking at how data is evolving,” said Purdue’s Brady Brewer, assistant professor of agricultural economics. “One of the key findings from the research that we’re looking at is how data is shaping the farmer of tomorrow.”

He said Purdue will share research about that evolving value chain. It was pulled from two different surveys they conducted.

“One was directed at the farmer and then the survey was at five various levels of the ag value chain,” he said. “So, we go to farmer all the way to the ag retailers to as close to the consumer as we can get. The farmer survey is focused on what the farmer of today is using data for, are they collecting it, how they’re analyzing it, and then what decisions they’re making from that data and also where they’re seeing data going into the future.”

The post-farm gate survey questioned first handlers of ag input providers all the way to the ag retailer.

“We looked at where they’re using data, how much they’re using data, are they sharing data across the value chain and then what decisions do they think they’re going to be making from data in the future.”

Panel discussions will include farmers and professionals from across food and agricultural business, “speaking on their perceptions on data within their company, how they’re using it, where they see it going in the future,” Brewer told HAT. “We have a farmer panel with some leading farmers from Indiana and Minnesota sharing their insights about how their data is driving what they do on the farm. We have representatives from John Deere, Syngenta, from Ceres coming to share their insights from how their companies are using it and how it’s shaping what they do within the ag value chain.”

Brewer said agriculture is very competitive and advantages over competition in many cases are available with data analytics. The recent research is the first comprehensive look at the entire data environment from farmer to consumer and they will share detailed results at the conference.

Brewer along with Dave Downey, Scott Downey, Michael Gunderson, Jayson Lusk, and other faculty members will present at the conference. Research results will be shared by value chain segment, followed by a panel debrief with those industry experts.

The program registration fee is $1,395 per person. Attendance in teams of three or more participants from an organization is strongly encouraged. Learn more about the conference and register at

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