Microsoft and Land O’Lakes are working to help farmers be more efficient
By Diego Flammini
A software company and an ag co-op have entered into a partnership to help U.S. farmers make better decisions.
Microsoft and Land O’Lakes announced they are working together to build the AgTech platform which will use artificial intelligence (AI) to help producers plan crop cycles and protect soils, while also increasing broadband access in rural communities.
“Through our partnership, we will apply the power of Azure (Microsoft’s cloud service) and its AI capabilities to help Land O’Lakes solve some of the most pressing challenges facing the (ag) industry and bridge the divide between rural and urban communities,” Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, said in a statement.
In addition to the crop tools that will be built into the platform, the companies are working on a Digital Dairy solution.
The tool will harness data like weather, feed management and animal health from sensors and other sources to help dairy farmers ensure efficiency and returns on investment.
The dairy tool will also provide traceability through the Land O’Lakes supply chain.
Another component of the AgTech platform helps advance sustainability practices.
Microsoft and Land O’Lakes will work to develop a suite of tools to help farmers identify new ways of improving soil quality and function, and connect to soil carbon markets.
This effort by the two organizations could have effects off the field as well.
Having rural communities that can thrive, stay connected and create local jobs is important for America’s future, said Beth Ford, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes.
“We have to have vibrant rural communities,” she said in an interview with CNN. “So, technology is an enabler to close this health care gap. We have a shortage of say 40,000 doctors in rural America. School systems lack broadband and technology access, so education is underinvested in and, here we are, all of us working from home."