Reetz, Lowenberg-Deboer Named Legacy Award Recipients

Harold Reetz and Jess Lowenberg-Deboer are the co-recipients of the Legacy Award in the PrecisionAg Awards of Excellence program for 2010. They will join the three other winners in Denver next month as this year’s Award of Excellence nominees at the 10th International Conference on Precision Agriculture.

Below are excerpts from the nomination essays sent on their behalf.

Harold Reetz
Harold Reetz has been a champion of technology and precision agriculture throughout his four decade-long career. Starting out in Extension in the Purdue University system in the 1970s, he assumed numerous leadership roles over the years and worked tirelessly as a champion for improving agronomic practices through education, research, outreach, and collaboration with like-minded growers and researchers from around the world.

In his role as Midwest Director of the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), Reetz promoted the use of variable rate fertilizers. He initiated the InfoAg Conference in the mid-1990s as a way of getting people together to share experiences and build a networked community of vendors, users, and service providers. As President of the Foundation for Agronomic Research he led multi-state teams in field research projects and development of training materials and workshops on the use of precision farming and the resulting data to make decisions. Now with Reetz Agronomics, Harold continues to champion the role of precision technologies in maximizing yield and minimizing environmental impact from crop production.

With his background in agronomy and extension, Harold has kept the focus of the application of technology on solving agronomic questions. He was an early leader in the solicitation of research money for studying the benefits of precision agriculture in the production environment. He led a multi-state, multi-year project funded by the United Soybean Board beginning in the late ’90s that carried into the new century. The researchers involved in the projects contributed papers on processes and techniques for evaluating precision practices on a field scale. Harold’s efforts kept the funding flowing through the years while providing a forum for participating researchers and practitioners to share their thoughts on the benefits of precision agriculture.
Building on the USB projects, he also led a project funded by USDA that focused on the development of training materials, workshops, and online tutorials in the use of data from precision technologies. Answering questions asked by producers at InfoAg and other conferences, this project helped provide simple tools for evaluating the data received from precision agriculture practices like soil sampling and yield mapping. Working with colleagues from industry and research institutions Harold made sure the message was one that producers could use in their agronomic decision-making process.

Early on Harold recognized the impact precision agriculture could have on the environment. Through his role in the fertilizer industry Harold promoted variable rate technologies and worked with others involved in nutrient management plans to consider variability within a field when considering nutrient loading limits for phosphorus and nitrogen. Harold used precision agriculture to consider factors such as proximity to surface drainage, slope, and soil type to vary fertilizer application rates, timing, and methods. By using precision ag technologies in nutrient management plans, Harold found ways to help farmers become better stewards of their land while keeping an eye on the bottom line. Throughout his career he has represented agriculture within the industry, outside the industry and in Washington as a steward of the environment. This work continues today as he works with various industry partners in projects funded by NRCS and EPA.

Says Quentin Rund, president of PAQ Interactive and long-time collaborator with Reetz on the InfoAg Conference: “Harold’s overall impact on precision agriculture continues to play out in his unique abilities to get people together, share ideas, and work toward common goals. His legacy as a professional and a human being will be formidably represented in the relationships developed through his direct (and indirect) contact with thousands of people in the industry.

“In an age where electronic communication dominates our personal interactions, Harold reminds us of the value of sitting down and talking through our ideas face to face,” he continues. “When you attend InfoAg and see the ideas, companies, and commerce that have benefitted from his goodwill and guidance you begin to understand how one person can have such a lasting impact on an industry. It is not easy to carry the torch of an idea for more than three decades, but Dr. Reetz has done it and continues to brighten the way for those who wish to follow. His presence in the industry is a constant reminder of what is possible and that we must always strive to push the envelope of possibility and understanding.”

Jess Lowenberg-Deboer
Jess Lowenberg-DeBoer is currently Associate Dean, Director of International Programs, and Professor of Agricultural Economics in the College of Agriculture at Purdue University, but his prior work in precision agriculture economics played an invaluable role in the growth of precision agriculture practices.

His contributions included original research into the profitability of every aspect of precision agriculture, including tracking the adoption of technology at the farm and service provider level. He has published 55 articles in refereed journals, two books, and chapters in six other books, and his work has taken him to over 40 countries.

“Jess was one of the pioneers in conducting economic analyses of precision farming technologies, notes Rodolfo G. Bongiovanni, researcher at the National Institute for Agricultural Technology in Argentina. “His projects were the first to use spatial statistical techniques to evaluate spatial yield monitor data; the first to be published which analyzed field-scale yield monitor data with spatial statistical techniques; the first to evaluate the whole-farm profitability of adopting GPS guidance technology; and the first on-farm trials which evaluated the actual nutrient application savings and yield increases from grid and zone soil sampling.”

Lowenberg-Deboer was instrumental in creating the Site Specific Management Center (SSMC) at Purdue University, which he directed until his promotion to Director of International Programs. SSMC is still known internationally as one of the most complete resources for information about precision farming. When he took over leadership of the Top Farmer Crop Workshop in 2003, he added precision agriculture to the already “first in technology” workshop. Innovations at Top Farmer included the first demonstrations of GPS automated guidance, unmanned aerial vehicles, and yield monitor data analysis service. He coordinated and was an editor of the publication Precision Farming Profitability, which won the Quality of Communication Award for the American Society of Agronomy in 2001.

Lowenberg-DeBoer’s early economic analyses were critical for an industry that was still in its infancy and struggling to find its niche in production agriculture. While many were enamored with the technology and the gadgetry, Jess focused on the economic drivers.
“The results were humbling to some efforts but very supportive of others, but in all cases they were of intense interest to nearly everyone working in this field,” says Bongiovanni. “And not only were the results of interest, but the analysis process that Jess and his colleagues used moved the industry’s collective thinking process.”

“With his background as a journalist and his personal experience farming, Jess has had a knack for communicating economic insights about precision farming to a wide range of audiences,” noted Scott Swinton, professor of agricultural, food and resource economics, Michigan State University,

Lowenberg-Deboer has a Masters degree in agricultural economics from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in economics from Iowa State University. He joined the Purdue faculty in 1985, initially dividing his time between the West Lafayette campus and Purdue activities in West Africa, then returned to Purdue in 1992.

Leave a Reply

Excellence Awards Stories
Excellence AwardsHelping Producers Manage Data: 2017 Award of Excellence Recipient Dr. Joe Luck
August 23, 2017
Dr. Luck is part of a wave of young Extension professionals who are educating producers and service providers on best practices in precision agriculture. Read More
Excellence AwardsBuilt By Agronomists: 2017 Award Of Excellence Winner Wade Barnes on the Making of Farmers Edge
August 2, 2017
Farmers Edge President And CEO Wade Barnes reflects on the process of building his company, shortly after receiving the Crop Adviser/Entrepreneur Award during the InfoAg Conference in July. Read More
InfoAg 2015
Events2017 Awards of Excellence Winners Announced
July 18, 2017
PrecisionAg Institute is pleased to announce its Awards of Excellence winners for 2017. Honorees of this year’s prestigious award are Read More
Rod Weimer and Paul Schrimpf
Australia/New ZealandPast Recipients Of The PrecisionAg Awards Of Excellence
July 18, 2017
Since 2007, the PrecisionAg Insititute has sponsored the annual Awards of Excellence program. Here's a list of the past winners. Read More
Trending Articles
AmericasIPNI Brazil: Precision Agriculture to Improve Nutrient Use Efficiency
October 16, 2017
As I mentioned in my last article, the IPNI Brazil Symposium on Precision Agriculture was held in early October in Read More
Decision Support SoftwareFarmers Edge, Service Provider Talk High-Frequency Imagery Deal
October 11, 2017
As the domestic ag tech market continues to mature and develop as we barrel into 2018, another intriguing partnership has Read More
Corn Field Sunset
Industry NewsEFC Systems’ FieldAlytics Now Available in Canada
September 29, 2017
According to an AgPR news release, FieldAlytics is now available in Canada through FieldAlytics Solutions Canada, Inc. This new company Read More
Decision Support SoftwareSciFi in Ag: Chatbot with your Plants?
September 26, 2017
(Article Notes: This monthly column takes some crazy sounding ideas and applies them to the field of Ag Tech. The Read More
Robotics/Labor SaversDeepfield Robotics to Showcase Precision Agriculture Technology at Agrilevante
September 22, 2017
Deepfield Robotics is preparing to showcase its robotics and automation technologies for the agriculture market at the Agrilevante event, in Read More
Farmer with iPad
Australia/New ZealandAgrian Expands into Australia
September 20, 2017
In line with a familiar growth trajectory, Agrian Inc. is moving into Australia with a physical support and sales presence Read More
Latest News
Specialty CropsOpinion: Agriculture’s Big Data is Coming to You
October 20, 2017
If you think your world is changing at a dizzying pace, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. That’s my takeaway from Read More
Ohio State
Data ManagementRecap: The Ohio State University Explores Ag Tech ROI a…
October 19, 2017
How do soybean producers begin to extract value from the vast selection of digital tools available in agriculture today? At Read More
Industry NewsAGCO, Climate Corp. Announce Digital Partnership
October 19, 2017
AGCO announced today a new digital partnership with The Climate Corp. that will provide AGCO customers the option to connect Read More
Industry NewsFieldReveal Inks Agreement with Texas Agronomy Outfit
October 19, 2017
FieldReveal has entered into an agreement with Ag Producers Cooperative of Dalhart, TX, to offer the full FieldReveal precision ag Read More
corn weather
Data ManagementSeasonal Weather Outlooks: High Risk Worth the Reward?
October 18, 2017
Often, when discussing weather service needs with a potential client, I am asked about the possibility of providing long-range weather Read More
Industry NewsAgDNA Announces Dealership Expansion
October 18, 2017
This week AgDNA surpassed their growth projections, announcing partnerships with eight new multi-store dealerships across the mid-west, mid-south and east Read More
AsiaIndia Maps 185 Districts Through Remote Sensing for Hor…
October 17, 2017
India’s Union Ministry of Agriculture has mapped 185 districts under a project using remote sensing technology to identify areas best Read More
AmericasIPNI Brazil: Precision Agriculture to Improve Nutrient …
October 16, 2017
As I mentioned in my last article, the IPNI Brazil Symposium on Precision Agriculture was held in early October in Read More
Data ManagementUsing Vector Soil Data in a Raster World?
October 16, 2017
Why spend the time and resources to extract the NRCS ‘Soil SURvey GeOgraphic’ (SSURGO) soil polygons only to display the Read More
Precision Irrigation
Precision Irrigation4 Important Ways Precision Technology Is Impacting Irri…
October 12, 2017
Water management is becoming an increasing concern in agriculture, whether that’s dealing with too much or too little water. This Read More
DronesDroneLife: Global Ag Drone Industry Potentially Worth $…
October 12, 2017
Via’s Jason Reagan: According to an August study by Esticast Research & Consulting Market Research, the global commercial drone Read More
Decision Support SoftwareFarmers Edge, Service Provider Talk High-Frequency Imag…
October 11, 2017
As the domestic ag tech market continues to mature and develop as we barrel into 2018, another intriguing partnership has Read More
Planet Labs satellite imagery
Industry NewsFarmers Edge, Planet Labs Announce Multi-Year Exclusive…
October 11, 2017
Farmers Edge announced today a strategic partnership to bring Planet’s best-in-class global monitoring platform to the Farmers Edge precision agriculture Read More
John Deere Combine Harvester at Hagen Farms
Decision Support SoftwareAg and Rail Equipment Uptime Critical for Good Harvest
October 9, 2017
Across the American Heartland, growers have started harvesting their crops for what the USDA predicts will be a good yield Read More
Ag Drone
Industry NewsBotlink, SST Announce Integration
October 6, 2017
Botlink has announced a seamless flow of actionable aerial data into the agX Platform. This integration makes it quick and Read More
corn field
Industry NewsEFC Purchases AgSolver Assets, Establishes New Sustaina…
October 6, 2017
EFC Systems announced it has purchased the assets of AgSolver Inc. The move establishes a new Agronomic Planning and Sustainabilty Read More
Ag Retailer and Grower WinField United
Australia/New ZealandNew Technologies vs. Agronomic Knowledge in Precision A…
October 4, 2017
As the days are getting longer and the temperature is starting to rise, Australian broadacre growers are gearing up for Read More
Field Sky Beauty shot
Industry NewsClimate, West Central Distribution Join Forces on Phosp…
October 3, 2017
To help farmers improve productivity and return on their investment, West Central Distribution and The Climate Corporation have teamed up Read More