Essay: Monsanto Scholarship for BDPA Students: Alex Marcellus (Purdue University)

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1st Annual Monsanto Scholarship for BDPA Students is awarded in August 2013 to three students ... each of whom will receive a $2,500 scholarships to assist with their studies. Alex Marcellus is an …

1st Annual Monsanto Scholarship for BDPA Students is awarded in August 2013 to three students ... each of whom will receive a $2,500 scholarships to assist with their studies. Alex Marcellus is an incoming freshman at Purdue University where he plans to major in engineering and computer science He is a new member of our BDPA Cincinnati chapter. Alex completed a stellar high school career at Summit Country Day School where he was the salutatorian while graduating with a astronomical 4.752 grade point average. His scholarship essay was entitled, 'How Information Technology Impacts Agriculture' This is another young man who deserves to be known as a 'future face of technology'.

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  • 1. From the very beginnings of the Agricultural Revolution, humanity has been searching for methods by which it could improve the agricultural process and feed its ever-growing population more effectively. We in the 21st century have not escaped this challenge. In fact, with almost seven billion mouths to feed and growing challenges such as invasive species, environmental sustainability, and natural resource management, modern farmers face challenges that their early counterparts could never have imagined. With land and water becoming valuable commodities, the question farmers must ask is not only how to farm more land, but to increase productivity on current land and make sure that no inputs or outputs in the agricultural process are wasted. Information technology presents one of the single greatest tools humankind has ever had in facing these agricultural challenges. The ability to gather, store, and interpret vast amounts of data from the farm to the supermarket promises to revolutionize the way we seem agriculture. The placement of physical, computerized sensors can help gather vast amounts of data on every batch of crop or livestock that is produced. Farmers and firms like Monsanto can then use data analytics to determine the best gene sequences to repel insects, grow larger crops, or place seeds in a way to help minimize the risk of the inherent heterogeneity in the agricultural process. Buyers of commodities like wheat can trade online, instead of being restricted to individual commodity markets. Retailers can determine best practices to make sure that every batch of meat or grain reaches their store and the hands of the consumer without spoiling. Data analytics helps every part of the agricultural supply chain realize more profits. Growers can harvest and sell a better crop using practices driven by data. Scientists can use data analytics to discover new gene patterns and growing practices to drive further productivity out of a single plot of land. Transporters can determine the best routes and optimal conditions to keep crops in on the way to the consumer. Retailers can be assured that they are not receiving a crop that will spoil in a matter of days. Ultimately, consumers will realize all these benefits. The reduction in spoiled crop, increased in yield, and the resultant increase in agricultural supply will drive not only an increase in profits for the entire agricultural supply chain but also a decrease in cost for the consumer. Information technology has already revolutionized the practice of agriculture. However, emerging IT trends can help drive benefits to the agricultural industry further. Technologies like
  • 2. Big Data and cloud computing promise to allow the agricultural supply chain to learn even more about the products it sells. Growers, retailers, and consumers can then use this agricultural renaissance to help realize a more environmentally sustainable world, blessed with a food supply that will be able to meet the demand of the billions of humans that will tax it for hundreds and thousands of years to come.