Alabama Extension Hosts Precision Ag Workshop

Dan Alabama, Education

alabama extensionThe Alabama Cooperative Extension System will host the year’s first precision agriculture workshop Jan. 18 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

While producers continue to adopt new farming technologies, Alabama Extension professionals are committed to working alongside them with industry partners to expand their practical knowledge and increase adoption. Previously held at E.V. Smith Extension and Research Station, the precision agriculture workshop has been an annual January event for a number of years.

Dr. Brenda Ortiz, an Alabama Extension precision agriculture specialist, said she is optimistic the move to Birmingham will allow more farmers to participate.

“We are hopeful that a more central workshop location will help us draw farmers from all over the state,” she said. “We have several notable speakers who will help our Alabama farmers take the next step toward full implementation of precision agriculture practices.”

The workshop will highlight five precision ag areas:

  • Precision liquid applications (fertilizer and herbicide)
  • Precision planting (precise planting depth, seed spacing, on-the-go seeding rate changes, multi hybrid planting)
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles in agriculture
  • Precision ag data management

To register for this free workshop, visit

Workshop Highlights

alabama“There are many farming practices that can be improved,” Ortiz said. “The technology is there and farmers are learning to use it. We want to help them use available technology to benefit their operation and moreover, their bottom line.”

Ortiz said many farmers also have difficulty converting the data they collect into applicable information. Trey Colley from The Ohio State University will talk data management strategies during the morning session. Additionally, there will be afternoon demonstrations on the practical use of collected data.

Other speakers include Phillip Williams of Clemson University, Dr. Ignacio Ciampitti of Kansas State University and Dr. Wesley Porter of the University of Georgia as well as Dr. Juan A. Landivar of Texas A&M.

Williams will discuss variable rate nitrogen in cotton, while Ciampitti and Porter will discuss different aspects of precision planting implementation. Landivar will discuss unmanned aerial vehicles and their on-farm use.

The afternoon will include hands-on demonstrations by several agricultural companies, as well as an opportunity for the companies to showcase their products.

Dr. Steve Thomson, a National Program Leader with the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, will be the keynote speaker. Ortiz said Thomson’s extensive research and experience in the agricultural sector gives him an especially relevant vision of the future of precision agriculture.

“Dr. Thomson will provide excellent insight about the future of agriculture in the United States, as well as the future of the implementation of precision practices on the farm,” Ortiz said.


Farmers can also find more information on precision ag workshops at or