University of Maryland Extension

Big Data: What’s the Big Deal?

Ashley Newhall

You see it all over the Internet, local and national news stations, but what actually is “big data” and what do you need to know about it as pertains to agriculture? In short, “big data” is aggregated data (a bunch of information) gathered from numerous farming operations.  For example, if you are growing corn, this could be data of how many seeds you planted per acre, how many acres, when, and where, and then combined with all other corn growers in your geographic region.  This data is then shared with an agriculture technology provider (ATP), such as Monsanto or John Deere, through a cloud-based system. 

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