Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, August 15, 1998, Image 72

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    Page 24—Ag Progress Section 1, Lancaster Farming, Saturday, August 15, 1998
Penn State’s Ag Progress Days Focuses On Pennsylvania’s High Tech Approach
Thanks to computers and
satellite technology, consumers
can check their e-mail comput
ers on airplanes and make cellu
lar telephone calls from desolate
Nowadays, farmers, federal
and state agencies, and
agribusinesses are using these
same systems to grow better
crops, manage insect pests and
track land-use patterns and
water resources.
Visitors to Penn State’s Ag
Progress Days, Aug. 18-20, can
plug into these fascinating tech
nologies as well.
The College of Agricultural
Sciences Exhibits Building, on
West 11th Street at the Ag
Progress Days site at Rock
Springs, will feature displays on
many aspects of precision agri
culture, global positioning tech
nology and Geographic
Information Systems (GIS).
Visitors can learn how satellite
positioning technology and com
puter mapping can help farm
ers, businesses and municipali
ties better understand the world
around them.
“Today, a typical Pennsylvania
fanner using a laptop computer
and a global positioning system
can map his fields for nutrient
deficiencies, target specific acres
for pesticide applications and
notify the county soil conserva
tion office of changes in his
acreage,” said David Wagner,
assistant professor of agricultur
al engineering.
“Mapping technology also is
used to pinpoint land-use pat
terns, locate 911 emergency sys
tems and identify agricultural
land preservation acreage.
Remote sensing technology can
detect whether a plant is under
stress or growing steadily.”
One of the building’s main
exhibits offers a window into
how farmers can use precision
agriculture and satellite tech
nologies. A demonstration of
field mapping will allow visitors
to pinpoint the location of their
farm and then print out an aeri
al-view map of the property
within minutes. A display on
remote sensing technology will
show how farmers and scientists
can use computers, infrared
equipment and other sensing
tools to collect data from acres
as small as a single plant leaf to
acre-size plots of farmland.
“Most people think remote
sensing is done only by satel
lite,” Wagner said. “In reality,
remote sensing can be done from
an airplane or on the ground
taking two reading two feet
above the canopy of a plant.”
New production tools used in
precision agriculture also will be
featured. “Not every farming
operation can use every tool
designed for precision agricul
ture,” Wagner said. “But there
may be tools or technologies that
farmers can easily adapt to their
own needs.”
Another major exhibit details
how federal and state agencies
and private citizens can use GIS
systems. A dazzling color com
puter display will show how
counties or municipalities can
map 911 emergency systems,
utility grids, water resources
and treatment systems and
other information in a central
database. The information then
can be analyzed in pieces or as
an entire system. In addition,
the display includes demonstra
tions of how GIS technology is
used for farm and land preserva
tion and environmental analy
“Geographic information sys
tems can give municipal and
state officials the big picture in a
literal sense,” said Rick Day,
assistant professor of soil sci
ence and environmental sys
tems. “GIS technology can be
used to see how a small town
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uses its water supply or to
reveal how the streams and
rivers of Pennsylvania affect the
Chesapeake Bay.”
Farmers and other interested
visitors will get their chance to
see how global positioning sys
tems can be used in crop scout
ing and nutrient management.
One display will detail how glob
al positioning technology can be
integrated into pest control pro
grams by using mapping to
track insect populations on spe
cific fields.
Curious visitors can get an
up-close look at a variety of pre
cision agriculture equipment,
including a precision application
sprayer using direct injection
technology, as well as four-wheel
all-terrain vehicle outfitted with
state-of-the-art global position
ing equipment. The
Pennsylvania Department of
Agriculture will staff an exhibit
on farm and land preservation.
“Stake Your Acres,” a farmir
computer game, will be avail
able for teens to play.
The College of Agricultural
Sciences’ Publications
Distribution Center will provide
a display of college publications.
Visitors can take a variety of
free publications and pick up an
order form for the college’s for
sale publications.
Penn State’s Ag Progress
Days features more than 500
acres of educational and com
mercial exhibits. The Russell E.
Larson Agricultural Research
Center is located nine miles
southwest of State College on
Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5
p.m. Tuesday and Thursday,
with extended hours on
Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Admission and parking are free
For more information, call
(800) PSU-1010 July 13 through
Aug. 20. Or, if you have access to
the Internet, visit Ag Progress
Days on the World Wide Web at