Bob Sasser


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Texas Plant Protection Association 31st Annual Conference set for December 10 - 11


BRYAN – Artificial intelligence and its impact on Texas agriculture will be the focus of the 31st Texas Plant Protection Conference set for Dec. 10-11 in Bryan.


“With this theme we are pleased with the lineup of outstanding speakers that will kick off our two-day conference “Clark Neely, TPPA President said.


Claudia Roessler, the Director for Agriculture in Microsoft Azure Global Engineering, will kick off the conference. She is responsible for developing strategic partnerships for Digital Innovation and Agriculture Technology related to the agricultural ecosystem. She will be discussing “Artificial Intelligence (AI) – What is it and what’s its Potential in Agriculture” Her talk will cover how AI helps those in agriculture make better decisions that can drive productivity, environmentally conscious use of the world’s natural resources and improvement in food safety and quality standards.


Next, the Market Development Manager for Blue River Technology, Shannon Pickering, will further discuss AI. His talk “Artificial Intelligence -on Farm Applications” will be about Blue River’s role in machine learning and artificial intelligence space in agriculture and the many opportunities for the technology to make a big difference in how we farm in the future.


“Artificial Intelligence in Machinery Automation and Crop Input Decisions’ will be addressed by Alex Thomasson, Professor and Cotton Chair, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at Texas A & M University. It will cover farming decision making process using AI. Since many decisions revolve around when, where, and how to apply inputs like seed, water, fertilizer, and etc., he will discuss how computing systems and AI can guide farmers on making these decisions.


Rounding out the morning general session will be Mark Kelley with Ceres Imaging. His talk will be “Pest and Disease Management with AI – Separating Hype from Reality”. He will focus on the limitations of AI in pest and disease detection in crops. His discussion will focus on research that demonstrates the challenges of accurate disease identification and prediction using remote sensing like imagery and probes.


After the lunch break, a Texas famer will review some of the issues and opportunities he has experienced using AI on his farm.


Concluding the General Session of the conference will be Mel Brown, CEO of Mel Brown and Associates. During this interactive presentation, conference participants will explore what they can do to increase their effectiveness in improving plant protection.


Following the Opening Session, Adam Hixson, TPPA Vice President and Program Chairman announced the following breakout sessions:

• New Technology and Chemistry
• Pest Identification
• Laws and Regulations
• Cotton
• Fertility Management
• Grain
• Horticulture / Turf
• Ag Technology
• Pasture and Rangeland


During the conference many agribusiness firms will have displays and will be available to discuss their products for Texas agriculture. These displays will be in the same hall as the Graduate Student research posters and coffee breaks. Continuing Educational Units (CEUs) will be offered for CCA and TDA.


The non-profit professional Texas Plant Protection Association (TPPA) sponsors educational conferences for those involved in production agriculture. Ray Smith, TPPA Board Chairman, reminds us of the evolution of the conference for over 30 years when we started with a theme of “Getting Down to Earth”. That first conference covered food safety, pesticide reregistration, risk taking and herbicide resistance management. At that time discussing AI referred to product “active ingredients” Now this year’s conference will discuss AI as “artificial intelligence” by using data from computer systems to help make better farming decisions. These conferences have been successful due to the broad support of many leaders in Texas agriculture that represent academia, extension, research, consulting, agribusiness, farmers, ranchers and regulatory.


For conference registration and additional information: www.texasplantprotection.com or email: texasplantprotection@gmail.com