The Digital Agriculture community of the Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub (MBDH) achieved a major milestone this week with a series of open-access publications on ag data.

The Unmanned Aerial Systems, Plant Sciences and Education (UASPSE) project, funded by an award from the National Science Foundation’s Big Data Spokes program (NSF award 1636865), wrapped up its activities this month with the publication of nine open-access articles in the September/October 2022 issue of Agronomy Journal under the Special Section: Big Data Promises and Obstacles: Agricultural Data Ownership and Privacy (BDPO).

Special Section topics include:

Two long-time MBDH team members played important roles in producing the special section: MBDH Site Coordinator Aaron Bergstrom, PI on the UASPSE project and Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Manager at the University of North Dakota; and Jim Wilgenbusch, Co-PI on the MBDH award and Director of Research Computing at the University of Minnesota.

The BDPO special section consists of a series of articles based on presentations given at the June 24, 2020, Virtual Workshop on Big Data Promises and Obstacles: Agricultural Data Ownership and Privacy. The Digital Agriculture: UASPSE Spoke project of the MBDH, together with the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences and PepsiCo, hosted the workshop, which focused on data ownership and privacy as it relates to academic and industry research and development in agriculture. The workshop was originally scheduled to be co-located at the US Agricultural Information Network (USAIN) Biennial Annual Meeting that was to be held in Lubbock, Texas, on May 1, 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the in-person USAIN meeting to be postponed. The BDPO workshop organizers then decided to host the BDPO workshop separately as a virtual workshop in June of that year via Zoom.

A total of 210 persons registered for the virtual workshop. While many attendees came and left throughout the day, the maximum attendee count during the event reached 142 active attendees. Because the event was virtual and the speakers represented groups with an international presence, there were attendees from North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.

In addition to 11 invited presentations, two breakout discussion sessions were held on topics chosen based on the 117 responses to the pre-workshop survey. A short post-workshop survey was conducted as well, with 116 respondents, to gather data on breakout sessions in which the attendees participated.

The 11 virtual workshop presentations are available via YouTube.

Get Involved

Interested in ag data? The Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub (MBDH) co-leads a new working group sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association (IEEE SA) to understand agricultural data needs across the food supply chain. Join the kickoff workshop on December 5, 2022, in Champaign, Illinois.

Contact the MBDH to learn more, or if you’re aware of other people or projects we should profile here. We invite participation in any of our community-led Priority Areas. The MBDH has a variety of ways to get involved with our community and activities.

The Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub is an NSF-funded partnership of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Indiana University, Iowa State University, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, and the University of North Dakota, and is focused on developing collaborations in the 12-state Midwest region. Learn more about the national NSF Big Data Hubs community.