How Microsoft Invests In Agriculture

Posted by Margy Eckelkamp on Thu, 11/29/2018 - 21:21

At the 2018 Farm Journal AgTech Expo, Josh Henretig will present an opening keynote, “The Impact of Artificial Intelligence Is At the Farm Gate.”

Microsoft has a 5-year, $50-million initiative called AI For Earth, which Henretig leads as the senior director.

“Microsoft launched this program a little more than a year ago, as a commitment to reach inside the company’s DNA to leverage our expertise in cloud computing, AI, and IoT to bring resources to bear to solve important environmental problems, including agriculture,” he explains.

Hear more in his recent interview with Chip Flory on AgriTalk:

Henretig says artificial intelligence has the power to improve on practices from the past, and do things faster and better.

“But what makes AI so exciting at this time is the development four key areas in computers and computer science: data, infrastructure, algorithms, and the applications,” he says. “While AI has been around for decades, now the volume of data is available to train the algorithms to generate things that are practical and useful for people like farmers.”

He says using artificial intelligence will unlock new insights for diagnostic analytics that help us understand the “why” of what happened, but also unlock predictive and prescriptive capabilities.

“This is important for farmer looking to anticipate and mitigate important risk factors, such as weather,” he says.

For a long-term goal, Henretig Microsoft wants to provide the cloud computing and infrastructure to help empower farmers with technology.

“While we may not be an intuitive player in agtech, we have been working with organizations and other tech companies in agriculture for decades,” he says. “And with AI for Earth, we are reaching out to organizations across the world at the intersection of agriculture and technology.”

Henretig will share more insights and case studies from their global partners at the 2018 Farm Journal AgTech Expo.