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ST. LOUIS — On-farm technologies can be as complex as they are essential, but guidance from the soy checkoff aims to help farmers maximize their data to make the best management decisions.

The soy checkoff’s Tech Toolshed, in partnership with five universities, releases new installments of free resources to help farmers incorporate digital and precision agricultural systems into their farm management strategy.

“The Tech Toolshed can help you improve your decision-making, whether you don’t know where to start with a new technology or you don’t feel like you’re using it most effectively,” Tom Oswald, United Soybean Board director and farmer from Cleghorn, Iowa, said in a news release.

One of the releases focuses on data literacy. Other topics include aerial imagery, GPS, prescription software, soil sampling, variable rate technology, weather data and yield monitoring.

“The inspiration and purpose behind the data literacy project is to develop educational material for soybean farmers and trusted advisors that support farmers in the agricultural data space,” said John Fulton, associate professor in food, agricultural and biological engineering at The Ohio State University.

The six pillars of data literacy outlined in the Tech Toolshed’s resources are:

  • Fundamentals: How to use on-farm data to maximize profit opportunities.
  • Integrity: How to avoid errors during data collection or processing that may affect results and the decision-making process.
  • Management: How to capture, organize and archive accurate farm data for decision making.
  • Sources: How to identify useful data sources to help in decision making.
  • Utilization: How to use ag data on your farm to reduce risk, maximize profits and reduce inputs.
  • Legal Aspects of Data: How to handle legal responsibilities and rights with farm data.

The five land-grant universities that collaborated on this project included The Ohio State University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Iowa State University, Purdue University and Kansas State University.