With the 10th International Conference on Precision Agriculture about two months away, program planning is winding down and the issue that are likely to be the focus of this year’s gathering are coming into focus. ICPA kicks off Sunday, July 18 at the Hyatt Regenct Tech Center in Denver and runs through July 21.
“The conference is progressing well, and the fact that the number of conference registrations is up compared to the last event — given the current economy — is a good sign,” says Raj Khosla, conference coordinator. On the academic side, between 275 and 300 papers in both oral and poster format will be presented, with representation from more than 40 countries, he adds.
Conference coordinators are insistent that the full proceedings of the conference will be available to all attendees at registration, and people who cannot attend will have quick access to all the conference research. “That is a big issue for presenters — if the papers are published immediately they can begin citing the research right away, as can other researchers,” says Khosla.
Among the sponsors are two entities with common interests from completely different parts of the world — the Alabama Precision Agriculture Extension group, and the Precision Agriculture Research Chair at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. “The Alabama group wishes to support precision agriculture education and research, and the Saudi research center is trying to gather as much information as possible to help them get a center started, and begin supporting work on precision agriculture in Saudi Arabia,” says Khosla.
Khosla has traveled thousands of miles this year, in large part to garner international support for the event. In particular, there are two issues he sees great interest in from his contacts. The first is food security.
“People are talking about food security, and there is the desire to understand what role precision agriculture plays in this,” says Khosla. “Recently, the journal Science dedicated an entire issue on food security, and in that issue they had a six-page article on precision ag. Precision is here to stay and is part of the solution.”
As for specific technology, there is worldwide interest in active sensing. “In other parts of the world, active sensing as a tool to manage nitrogen becoming a big issue, with emphasis on nitrogen efficiency,” says Khosla. Nitrogen use efficiency is seen as a way to influence climate change in a positive way.
There are just three weeks to take advantage of the early bird discount registration — June 18 is the final day. For practitioners, there is a special A to Z track of sessions running all three days of the conference that costs just $300.
For more information visit www.icpaonline.org.