Precision Farming Technology Experts Opine On Intellectual Property Dispute


Precision Farming Technology Expert

This case involves an intellectual property dispute between two companies who assist farming operations by using data to help inform soybean production strategies. One company is an established innovator in the precision agriculture industry and the other is a young midwestern tech startup. The patents in question are algorithms dedicated to developing fertilizer recommendations to maximize crop yields. An expert in precision farming technology with a blend of academic and industry experience was sought to opine on this case.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please describe your background in the field of precision farming technology?
  • 2. Do you have any experience in agricultural consulting, data management, field activity documentation, crop monitoring and yield projection, carbon offset calculation, project development, land assessment, pre-season crop planning, and/or production management services?

Expert Witness Response E-030449

I have an extensive background and considerable expertise in the field of precision farming (aka precision agriculture) technology. In the field of precision farming systems, I have taught courses and offering workshops in precision farming technology and systems and contributed to solutions for local and regional precision farming adoption and implementation issue. More specifically, I have managed and co-managed several interdisciplinary research projects related to precision farming in areas such as variable rate nutrient and pesticide management, spatial data management and analysis, crop modeling and decision support systems, and interpretation of within-field spatial variability (crop yield, soil fertility, terrain, and management factors). I have offered many workshops discussing precision farming and data analysis as well as precision farming implementation at the local level. These workshops have included detailed and in-depth exploration of technologies and methods for crop monitoring and yield mapping, assessment of soil variability, data management, and pest/weed management.

Expert Witness Response E-030354

My background is in soil fertility and nutrient management. I have dealt with the development of fertilizer recommendations for a number of important crops in the US, including corn, sorghum, wheat, soybeans, rice, and many other minor crops. I have been employed by major land-grant universities since 1975 as a tenure-track professor with research, teaching, and extension responsibilities. My work has been responsible for developing fertilizer recommendations in several midwestern states. For the past ten years, I have had a major research and extension program focused on the use of active crop sensors to make nitrogen recommendations for corn, wheat, and grain sorghum. We have developed algorithms which can be used with fertilizer applicator mounted sensors to make on-the-go applications, or for stand-alone sensors used to draw application labs. Recently we have been working on the adoption of this technology to aerial vehicles, drones, to draw recommendation maps.

As an extension specialist, I have regularly worked with farmers and agronomists across the midwest on issues related to fertilizer recommendations, site-specific applications of recommendations to enhance nutrient use efficiency, various aspects of precision agriculture I use the ideas and concepts of precision agriculture to enhance yield and fertilizer use efficiency in a nutrient management program. I have fairly extensive experience as an industry consultant. I have published in the academic literature and lectured at the university level on various precision farming technology topics. The past several years, I have been a recurring guest lecturer on precision agriculture and big data at several midwestern universities. In addition to lecturing at the university level, I have delivered dozens of presentations specifically directed to audiences of practitioners of precision farming including farmers, landowners, crop consultants, retailers, and researchers including invited presentations across the United States, Canada, and Australia.

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