Welcome to Data Season

Katie Micik Dehlinger
By  Katie Micik Dehlinger , Farm Business Editor
(Progressive Farmer image by Greg Latza)

Every farm has its seasons. There's planting season, spraying season, harvest season and then, data season. Whether it's preparing the books for the banker or the taxman, evaluating yield outcomes on test plots or tabulating ways to trim expenses, the long, cold days of winter are when the data work gets done.

I hope you joined us for the DTN Ag Summit, where we spent a lot of time discussing the ways farmers can mine their data for useful insights. I particularly enjoyed the first day's focus on the topic. It started with the equipment manufacturers, all winners of the DTN/Progressive Farmer Reader Insights Awards, detailing how data is driving the future of tractor technology. Then the chief scientist of Microsoft's agricultural endeavors explained the 35,000-foot view of how data and the internet of things are likely to change farming in profound ways in the not-so-distant future. A panel featuring experts from Indigo, Gro Intelligence and ClearAg followed, where they explained the ways data is already changing what farmers do.

While those sessions were overtly focused on data, I was impressed at how many other times data became a point of conversation. One of the winners of this year's America's Best Young Farmers and Ranchers Award, Iowa farmer Aimee Bissell, shared how field records helped her figure out why a field was underperforming. Data came up in discussions about COVID's long-term impact on the ag economy, the increasing accuracy of weather forecasting and in our breakfast roundtable discussions.

Farmers generate an incredible amount of data on their farms every year. One thing I've observed in recent years is that successful farms -- those that are financially sound, growing and serving as role models for their neighborhoods -- embrace the power of their data and use it to build resilience.

If you're in the midst of data season and missed the DTN Ag Summit, these conversations will be available until Jan. 8. Just visit to register, and you can watch all of the content on demand. And, of course, you can continue to find DTN and the Progressive Farmer's award-winning coverage of these topics and more on

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