Online Registration is Closed – Please Register at the Door

F³ Tech Symposium – Fall 2017

Viewing Agriculture Through the Lens of Innovation and Technology

Wednesday, December 13, 2017
9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Eastern Shore Higher Education Center – Caroline Center (campus map)
Chesapeake College – Wye Mills, MD 21679
ATTENDANCE IS FREE –  includes lunch

The purpose of the symposium is to serve as a tool for engaging industry into the innovation ecosystem.  This one-day event includes a broad outreach among entrepreneurs, innovators, farmers, watermen, environmentalists, industry, investors, service providers, government agencies, and academic and research institutions.  The purpose is to advance awareness and an open dialogue with stakeholders about agriculture, aquaculture, and environmental technologies, to foster partnerships and relationships, and to create a shared understanding of what the market and industry needs and explore opportunities for creating value and impact from the F³ Tech sector and be an ongoing tool for sustaining and growing an industry-led incubation ecosystem.

Symposiums are held quarterly, rotating among the Eastern Shore, Southern Maryland, Western Maryland, and the Baltimore/DC corridor.


9:30 a.m.

Registration and Refreshments

10:00 a.m.

Welcome and Opening Remarks

10:15 a.m.

Orientation on F³ Tech Initiative

11:00 a.m.

Session 1: Tracking and Tracing - Consumer interest in where food comes from and how it is handled has been one of the most talked about narratives of the past few years. With food production transparency and safety top of mind, agriculture must continue to listen and respond to this consumer-driven message. For example, FoodLogIQ is a platform designed to connect data across many points in the food production process so that both farmers and processors can track the growth and movement of grain from seed to the point it is sold.
Speaker: Jim Smolen - TrackNet, Annapolis, MD

11:45 a.m.

Lunch and Table Top Discussions

Acceleration in Technology - Data analysis in the years ahead will supplement what farmers know intuitively and in some cases challenge those assumptions. New products rely on aerial satellite imagery, greenness sensors, soil maps and millions of weather data points. The question of data ownership will be a subject of growing debate. It is also possible for machines to learn to solve problems in agriculture by using artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Subject Matter Expert: Mary Buffington - Eastern Shore Regional GIS Cooperative, Salisbury, MD

Big Data - Big data is still a buzzword – and rightly so – but the challenge right now is figuring out how to get this data to work for a farmer at the local level. Converting data to actionable solutions is what needs to happen to make all this technology worth the investment. Without solutions, just viewing data is pretty much worthless. This process takes a tremendous amount of time, filled with frustrations, trial and error. But when data becomes actionable, it becomes very powerful and worth the effort.
Subject Matter Expert: John Elstner - EarthData, Centreville, MD

Biologicals - Many of the major chemical companies are focusing their attention on using biological organisms to battle weeds, insects and diseases. How these products control pests will be vastly different than what we are used to using for chemical control, and will require a different mindset.

Augmented Reality - Augmented reality is no longer being used simply to make video games more appealing. These emerging technologies are being adopted across a number of fields such as medicine, professional athletics, and increasingly, agriculture. It is the idea of Google Glasses, with real-time data or information being overlaid into your visual frame of view. There is research being done in Augmented Reality by superimposing computer-generated 3D images on tractor navigation screens to provide more data and build a complete picture of the field beyond what is physically being seen. It will be interesting to watch what other applications of Augmented Reality emerge to help farmers make real-time decisions in the coming years.
Subject Matter Expert: Shawn Flaherty - Balti Virtual, Baltimore, MD

Soil Health - Scientists and agronomists keep digging deeper into the natural potential of soil. Over the past few years, the biological market has taken off, as the soil and plant health-boosting potential of naturally-occurring soil microbes was realized. In-field testing has become the norm for many farmers who want the full picture of microbial activity in their fields. Improving soil health is just one aspect of improving overall soil quality. The NRCS lists activities that have been shown to benefit soil across the state. The first activity is adopting no-till practices, which has shown significant minimization of soil erosion both caused by wind and water, while also improving organic matter. Also, to operations that have the capabilities, cover crops provide additional soil benefits such as prevention against erosion, increased organic matter, and minimizing soil compaction. We anticipate these and other soil restoration practices to become even more utilized in the coming year.
Subject Matter Expert: Nevin Dawson - University of Maryland Extension, Denton, MD

Strategic Decisions and Exploring Alternatives - While today's farmers have more technology available today than ever before that offers hands-off management, they must in fact be very hands-on when it comes to strategically planning for the short-term and long-term future of the farm. A few years ago when prices were high, deeply analyzing and crunching the numbers may have been of less importance. In the down ag economy, careful analysis of inputs must be a standard practice. In addition to strategically managing expenses, many farms are also exploring new niche markets and building strategic buyer relationships. Each crop is grown for a reason and for an end-product, and that a farmer will be successful by producing quality grain that meets the needs of that end goal and gets into the hands of buyers who pay accordingly for it.
Subject Matter Expert: Jennifer Rhodes - University of Maryland Extension, Centreville, MD

Higher Protein Content - Protein is in high-demand as the global population grows. Also, those in the areas of the world that are growing quickest are improving their diets and requiring greater protein. Biotechnology applications continue to evolve in order to meet this protein demand. For example, an article from the Rice Research Station at Louisiana State University Agriculture Center describes four different approaches that manipulate seed protein bodies to provide the proper balance of essential amino acids most cereal grains do not contain naturally.

1:00 p.m.

Session 2: Meat Consumption Shift - U.S. meat consumption declined 7.8% from 2007-13. Meanwhile, China has been the world’s top meat consumer since 1992. By 2012, China’s consumption more than doubled that of the U.S. By 2022, China’s red meat and poultry consumption is projected to rise 15.2%. There seems to be new diet trends popping up every time you open the refrigerator, but no extreme eating regimen sticks out more than the Atkins Diet. The carb-phobic diet book was written in the ‘70s and got insanely popular in the ‘90s; since then, people have obsessed over their meat intake. And lately, we’ve been hearing far too much about meat-only diets—and a little less about vegetarian diets. But is there any weight to either of these eating ways? Is one better than the other? To evaluate the pros and cons and its potential impact on Maryland's poultry industry two panelists will share thoughts on both counts.
Panelists: Dr. Jyothi Rao, MD - Shakthi Health & Wellness Center, Mt Airy, MD
                     Holly Porter - Delmarva Poultry Industry, Georgetown, DE

2:00 p.m.


2:15 p.m.

Session 3: Biotechnology Strategy Evolves - GMOs are here to stay but face political and public relations hurdles. In states such as Vermont, where labels are required, implementation is expensive. Yet some GMO advocates back a federal labeling solution that would halt state efforts. GMO technology is able to accomplish great things, but many people worry that GMOs will have bad effects on environmental and human health. Should industry work to change public opinion?
Speaker: Michael Stebbins, PhD - Biotechnology Information (CBI)/ GMO Answers, Washington, DC

3:15 p.m.

Closing Remarks and Attendance Reward Raffle - Prize: ICE Levitating Orb – Floating Wireless Portable Bluetooth Speaker. $110 value. All attendees and speakers are entered, must be present to win.

3:30 p.m.


Symposium Partners