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February 2023

Dean's Fellow Welcome

Of my relatively recent reads is the 2018 book titled Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke. The subtitle is simply fabulous: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts. Would we not agree that this is all the time? Annie is a former championship poker player, but most of the stories in the book are about sports. It is an inexpensive book and everyone that read it upon my recommendation (albeit, a small n) has enjoyed it. 

The book will bring out the critical thinking part of you and get you thinking about probabilities. You will more honestly assess statements you and others make that we generally assume are a sure thing (like 98% sure or more); you will recognize that there is some chance that is not true. Simply the phrase “do you wanna bet?” gets us thinking this way. You don’t have to be a betting person or actually place a bet. Just repeat the phrase occasionally to get this probabilistic thinking going in a good way. It doesn’t make you a skeptic just because you pose the question; it draws out deeper thought. I recall a statement that stemmed from a university/industry conversation about data platforms made by colleague and friend, Dr. Ankita Raturi of ABE. Paraphrasing because I don’t have a perfect memory, she said that data platforms, insight generators, analytics, etc., should reflect uncertainty honestly. Ponder that. Do you reflect uncertainty honestly? Does your app? Does your analysis? Do your students? 

Practicing what I’m “preaching," I am reasonably sure you’ll gain something from the rest of the content of this newsletter, so please read on.

Dennis Buckmaster

Of Special Interest

The 4th College of Agriculture & College of Engineering Joint Poster Networking Gathering will be Friday, March 31, 2023 in Marriott Hall, 2:30-6:30p ET

These events have been very successful and interactive, with 200+ participating and 50+ posters. There will be a call for poster titles starting in late February. We also welcome table displays and equipment displays, interactive presentations are encouraged. Posters that have been used previously are just fine (and easy).

Good food will be provided to participants, and beverages will be available at student-friendly prices. Undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral research associates, faculty, staff and administrators are all encouraged to attend and interact.

An underlying theme will be "How do the College of Agriculture and the College of Engineering work well together to help feed the world?"

Displays that may address this most important challenge to humanity, even in a remote or indirect way, are encouraged. Any questions feel free to send a
note to Dr. Torbert Rocheford.

A woman explaining a poster to another woman Three people networking at a poster event

Research Spotlights

Purdue Ag Centers are Digitizing Field Activity Records

Purdue Ag Centers are ramping up digitizing records of field activities. Using a method refined and adopted by Rachel Stevens, ACRE farm manager, and her crew in 2022, simple Airtable forms will yield tidy data of field activities. The who, what, when, how and how much will help make the other precision data and plethora of images and sensor data more valuable. This same approach is also being disseminated to farmers via Extension. Read more about that in this issue's Extension Spotlight.

Using Biosensor Technology for Fresh Produce Safety

ABE Professor Mohit Verma's research team is adapting their biosensor technology used in paper-based, rapid-result tests for detecting bovine respiratory disease and COVID-19 for produce safety risk assessment. This technology detects DNA from the Bacteroidales fecal microorganism, which is as a marker for contamination in fresh produce. Read more about Dr. Verma's advancements here.

Extension Spotlight

Spreadsheet Training with Indiana Extension Educators

This spring I am offering a 5-part deep dive into spreadsheet training for Extension Educators in Indiana. So far we’ve had about 50 educators attend the kickoff 3-hour sessions offered in-person at different Extension Area offices throughout the state. The kickoff session will be followed by four 1-hour virtual sessions throughout the semester that will end with an introduction to databases and templates available for farmers.

Area 1 Extension training

In case you’re curious about the databases, check out these links for free Airtable templates that we have prepared and released in the Extension open-source manner: 

Position Available

Purdue University’s College of Agriculture is seeking a Clinical Assistant or Associate Professor in Online Education (12-month, non-tenure track). Help us spread the word of this opportunity!

We welcome applicants with a Ph.D. in data science, agriculture, computer science, engineering, education, or closely related field, and a passion for developing online, data-driven, agriculture courses. All individuals, including minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Purdue University is an EOE/AA employer. A background check is required for employment in this position.

Full details about position and instructions for applying can be found at: 

Review of applications begins March 6, 2023.


Education Spotlight

Data Science in Agriculture REEU program

It is not too late for your students to apply to the Data Science in Agriculture REEU program. This 10-week program gets rave reviews
by past participants. Applications are due March 6, 2023. Information is available

Data-Driven Pull-up Banner Available
We have a Data Driven Agriculture pull-up banner to promote the Certificate in Application of Data Science and the Data Driven Agriculture minor. If you would like to borrow it for your foyer, atrium, advising center or for some specific event, let us know the dates and we’ll do our best to get it to you. 

Upcoming Events

NCRCRD Webinar: Rural Broadband Tools and Resources in the North Central Region – February 27, 2023, 2:00p ET. 

Broadband availability and access continue to be a problem in the United States, especially among rural and tribal communities. Researchers at Michigan State University created a tract-level web application of provision levels in Census tracts across the contiguous United States over a period of several years. Researchers from the Purdue Center for Regional Development will explain the digital divide index (DDI), which is a descriptive tool at the Census tract level (and counties too) to help community stakeholders better understand their digital divide landscape. Both resources can help users better understand local broadband data. Register here. 

AI in Agriculture Conference, April 17-19

The University of Florida Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences is partnering with several other Land Grant universities located in the Southeast USA and USDA-NIFA to organize and host an AI in Agriculture conference from April 17-19. Registration is due March 1. Address questions to Dr. Kati Migliaccio or Dr. Yiannis Ampatzidis.

2023 Conference on Applied Statistics in Agriculture and Natural Resources, May 15-18

The Conference on Applied Statistics in Agriculture and Natural Resources brings together statisticians and researchers from academia, industry, and government to discuss ideas and advancements in the application of statistics to solve agricultural and biological problems. This is a four-day conference consisting of a keynote speaker, a workshop, and a series of contributed papers and poster presentations. Learn more here.


ICYMI, our Spring Data-Driven Seminar Series recordings are available to view online.

If you are interested in attending future seminars, please drop by WSLR 116 on select Thursdays from 12:30 to 1:30p ET.

Seminars are held in-person with recordings made available after the event.

Here are the upcoming seminars:

Find past issues of the Digital Agriculture Newsletter here.

Know someone outside of the Purdue College of Agriculture who would be interested in this newsletter? Have them sign up at https://ag.purdue.edu/digitalag/digital-agriculture-newsletter.html.