From the President

Inspiration from The Vision Conference Experience

By Brent Kemp, President and CEO

Last week at The VISION Conference, I had the good fortune to visit with many friends of AgGateway as well as build new connections. The networking available provided valuable opportunities to share news of current activities and exchange views on the state of ag tech adoption. The programming team and advisory board for the conference made sure we had ample educational programming as well. As I reflect on the week, there are a couple of moments that stand out that I think highlight the importance of the work we do together at AgGateway.

First, Brian J. Lutz, Vice President of Agricultural Solutions at Corteva, gave the keynote address outlining his company’s digital journey. He observed that understanding the difference between enabling technologies and solutions is crucial to success in building value for customers, whether they are farmers/producers or customers in your supply chain.

AgGateway members have invested in several such enabling technologies over time, including:

  • X12 and XML message specifications
  • JSON schemas for MODUS, Mix Ticket, and In-Field Product ID
  • And many more

We’ve always positioned these enabling technologies as tools to help build efficient and resilient data exchange processes with a goal of improving the quality of data capture, transmission, and consumption.

It’s tempting sometimes to look at these as solutions to discrete problems. However, their true value becomes clear when they can be used to solve other problems or address other use cases. Ben Craker, with input from member volunteers, has started to build use cases that showcase the ways in which implementing existing AgGateway digital resources can address new and emerging business needs. Whether it’s data collection to support product performance, or building blocks for a view of “everything, everywhere, all at once,” the messages, and consistent ways of exchanging reference data across those messages enable your investments to grow beyond their initial promise.

The second moment that stood out for me was a break-out session on AI, facilitated by Sidhartha Bhandari and the Publicis Sapient team. It wasn’t the topic that was a standout, but rather the way in which Sid and his people walked the room through a brainstorming exercise on the current state of our organizations’ thinking about AI, and the promise that it could hold for farmers. I appreciated hearing from others about their experiences as well as their perspectives on risks and rewards. We didn’t leave the room with all the answers, but we did depart with insights on where our journeys might start, and how – as AgGateway member and volunteer Doug Applegate put it – we might learn to ask better questions.

AgGateway is the place where stakeholders come to ask questions of each other, like “how can we fix problems identifying common customers?” and “what is needed to support current and anticipated sustainability programs?” and many more. The answer to each question has been and will continue to be enabling technologies that, when implemented, result in business solutions. These in turn launch more questions.

How are you using these tools to improve your business? And what kinds of use cases benefit from collaborative, standards-based resources to help move you to solutions? Drop me a note or schedule a meet up though Member Services, and let’s keep expanding the value AgGateway membership and participation brings to your organization.