Clemson partners with IBM and AgStack to aid global food access.

Farming comes with a host of challenges, but a collaboration between the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service and some major players in the tech sector seeks to help farmers around the world scale some of those walls with data.

Clemson Vice President for Public Service and Agriculture George Askew came up with an idea for Clemson's Ecosystem for Agriculture Technology Sharing, or EATS. IBM and AgStack Foundation, a Linux Foundation project, is helping turn that seed into the Digital Ag Recommendations Service, or Ag-Rec, a massive database that will house extension service recommendations for issues that farmers routinely face, according to a news release.

The Clemson Extension Service was founded in 1914 and acts as a repository of science-based agricultural recommendations shared through county agents.

Through Ag-Rec, Geotagging will allow the use of local market and climate data so that information is region specific, the news release said. Information contained in Ag-Rec will be freely accessible to app developers for incorporation into related apps.

"Food is an essential requirement for life, for everyone across the globe," Askew said in the release. "U.S. land-grant Institutions have information available through their cooperative extension services that can help people get the food and nutrition they need. This program will help get this information to people who need it most in South Carolina, the United States and beyond."

Establishment of the program is coordinated by Clemson precision agriculture engineer Kendall Kirk, with project management led by Mallory Douglass. Kirk is part of a team of scientists dedicated to developing precision agriculture technologies such as software, sensors, UAVs and robots designed to increase farming productivity and sustainability, the release said. The team is housed at the Edisto Research and Education Center in Blackville. Douglass is a recent Clemson MBA graduate who has been involved with EATS since its inception.

"The Cooperative Extension Service has information to help farmers sustainably grow productive crops," Kirk said in the release. "Through the Ag-Rec server, we are establishing a digital presence for extension recommendations, which we anticipate will be the start of revolutionizing delivery of extension programs worldwide. We intend to build a framework that extension programs everywhere can contribute to."

Thomas Dobbins, director of Clemson Extension, said this new...

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