How tech-savvy farmers are harnessing big data to tend the fields of the future

In the old days, farmers kept track of their crops’ vital stats in logbooks and on whiteboards — but in the new days, that’s just not going to cut it.



a plane flying in the air: Drones can help apple growers survey their orchards to gauge their health. (Innov8 Ag Photo)


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Drones can help apple growers survey their orchards to gauge their health. (Innov8 Ag Photo)

“Shun analog,” said Steve Mantle, the founder and CEO of Innov8 Ag Solutions, a farm management venture that’s headquartered in Walla Walla, Wash. “Digital first. If a grower is still putting things in logbooks, they have to shift to it.”

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Mantle and other experts and entrepreneurs surveyed the state of agricultural tech today during Washington State University’s Digital Agriculture Summit — and it’s clear that the field is in a state of flux.

The panelists gave a shout-out to technologies ranging from sensor-equipped drones and 5G connectivity to robotic harvesters and artificial intelligence. But at the same time, some

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How farmers are harnessing big data to tend fields of the future

Drone survey
Drones can help apple growers survey their orchards to gauge their health. (Innov8 Ag Photo)

In the old days, farmers kept track of their crops’ vital stats in logbooks and on whiteboards — but in the new days, that’s just not going to cut it.

“Shun analog,” said Steve Mantle, the founder and CEO of Innov8 Ag Solutions, a farm management venture that’s headquartered in Walla Walla, Wash. “Digital first. If a grower is still putting things in logbooks, they have to shift to it.”

Mantle and other experts and entrepreneurs surveyed the state of agricultural tech today during Washington State University’s Digital Agriculture Summit — and it’s clear that the field is in a state of flux.

The panelists gave a shout-out to technologies ranging from sensor-equipped drones and 5G connectivity to robotic harvesters and artificial intelligence. But at the same time, some in the virtual audience complained about

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Harnessing digital technology to fight the pandemic

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the World Bank Group has taken fast action to help strengthen the global pandemic response. Projects are deploying $160 billion in financing, with support tailored to the health, economic, and social shocks countries are facing.

Funmi Adewara’s company, MobiHealth International, is one of seven winners from among 2,400 applicants to the World Bank Group’s annual SDGs&Her competition. In partnership with UNDP, UN Women, and the Wharton School Zicklin Center, the competition supports women entrepreneurs around the world, so that they can thrive in their businesses while helping achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Based in Nigeria, MobiHealth International is a one-stop digital platform that gives patients access to thousands of doctors in multiple languages. Patients can use a smartphone app, call a toll-free line, or visit one of the mobile, solar-powered telehealth clinics that are on the move across Nigeria. Funmi’s business has launched a

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A Sound Idea for Harnessing Emerging Market Dividends

Developing economies remain a compelling avenue for income ideas and one of the more practical ideas for tapping that income stream is the ALPS Emerging Sector Dogs ETF (NYSEArca: EDOG).

EDOG, which debuted over six years ago, tracks the performance of the S-Network Emerging Sector Dividend Dogs Index. The index is comprised of the highest paying stocks, or “Dividend Dogs,” from the S-Network Emerging Markets Index, which holds large-cap, emerging market stocks. The Dividend Dogs include the five stocks in each of the ten Global Industry Classification Standard sectors that make up the S-Network Emerging Markets.

“Emerging markets aren’t among the first places investors typically think of when scanning for dividend stocks, but they can offer reliable and growing payers,” reports Lawrence Strauss for Barron’s. “It’s important to tread carefully, however, given risks such as currency fluctuations and less rigorous corporate governance in certain cases.”

EDOG ETF

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Harnessing online tactics to save a species

Harnessing online tactics to save a species
Saiga in the wild. Credit: Shutterstock

Targeted advertising and news coverage are powerful, and controversial, tools for influencing human perceptions and behavior. This influence can be perceived as exploitative—notoriously Cambridge Analytica’s alleged influence in the Brexit referendum and the 2016 US Presidential election. Such cases have received widespread attention and raised ethical questions around whether, or how, these tools should be used. But do they, unwittingly, reveal new conservation solutions?


As researchers working to improve conservation of the world’s wildlife, we wondered: could we, and should we, subvert these tools’ main use of peddling products and political ideals, to instead promote positive conservation messages?

The illegal or unsustainable wildlife trade is a major issue impacting biodiversity across the globe. However, despite numerous concerted efforts to tackle this challenge, it remains a key contributor to global species decline. In response, we set out to develop an effective, scalable approach to curb

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