MSU hosts annual Agriculture Innovation Day

Michigan farmers attend learning sessions on ‘precision agriculture that pays’

MSU Foundation Professor Bruno Basso discusses remote sensing
MSU Foundation Professor Bruno Basso discusses remote sensing with guests at the 2019 MSU Agriculture Innovation Day. This year's event, hosted at MSU Farms, focused on "Precision Technology that Pays."

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Farmers from across Michigan gathered on Friday, July 26 at Michigan State University (MSU) Farms in Lansing for MSU’s Agriculture Innovation Day (Ag Innovation). 

The fourth-annual Ag Innovation Day – the first to be hosted on MSU’s main campus – focused on “precision technology that pays” and how innovative technologies can be used in decision-making that can improve yields, increase profit and reduce environmental impact.

Experts from around the country, including MSU professors, MSU AgBioResearch researchers and MSU Extension educators, spoke on a variety of topics, including variable rate seeding, soil sampling, remote sensing, yield monitor data and phone applications that can provide information to make farming more efficient.

“It was good to hear other farmers’ takes on these technologies and how farmers are using technology on their farms,” said Leon Thelen, an agronomy tech with B&M Crop Consulting and MSU graduate. “It was great to see all the new technology, like what (MSU researcher) Bruno Basso is doing with drones. I learn something new every time I hear people like him talk.”

Basso demonstrated how drones are used to develop prescription maps of spatially variable input, designed to provide producers with a variety of information about their fields.

Learning sessions were broken down into individual topics and each guest was able to attend each session.

“I’m honored to have presented at such a well-organized event,” said Bob Nielsen, a professor and corn agronomist in Purdue University’s College of Agriculture. “The small groups were very interactive. I’m used to presenting at field days in Indiana, but to have a large-scale annual event that travels around the state of Michigan like Ag Innovation Day is really amazing.”

Nielsen led a discussion on planter technology and seed placement. 

State and local leaders attended the event and got a first-hand look at the work MSU researchers and Extension educators are doing to assist Michigan farmers.

“I was so impressed with Ag Innovation Day, the presenters and the topics that were discussed,” said Julie Alexander, a state representative for Michigan’s 64th district. “Each session covered current, relevant topics that are of great value to our farmers across the state. As someone who believes in the importance of Michigan’s agriculture industry, I’m thrilled that our farmers have access to research and outreach from MSU.”

Michigan State Sen. Roger Victory, owner of Victory Farms in Hudsonville, said he is one of a growing number of elected officials focused on spreading the message of the value of agriculture in Michigan. He said programs like Project GREEEN and the Michigan Alliance for Animal Agriculture “provide incredible resources” to farmers and agriculture leaders across the state.

More information about each learning session can be found at

Ag Innovation Day is hosted annually by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, MSU Extension and MSU AgBioResearch.


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