See you soon! (where we'll be this summer)

“Happiness is when your passion and career collide, and you can look forward to Mondays”

We laughed when we saw this quote, because we love what we’re doing so much, we don’t wait for Monday’s!

Thanks to all of those we have already met through media coverage on CBC, CJOB, Global West Broadcasting! Events like Data Tech 2019, podcasts like Teaching Python, or even international flights (shout out to my seatmates from Iceland and Germany and the flight crew on @IcelandAir who were all interested in AI in Ag!). BUT, it also never occurred to us that we better tell you all where we will be next. We’ll blame that on being so excited about what we are doing, and running so lean as we grow that we sometimes need a reminder every now and then!

So in the next month we’d love to meet more of you at:

We love getting to know our audience and look forward to meeting you this summer!

AI in Ag: Drones

At the end of May we presented at Data Tech 2019 - but the event was sold out and so we know not everyone who wanted to come was able to- so we have broken down our presentation to a few excerpts. When speaking to a AI audience without an agricultural background we try to highlight areas of continued opportunity, and ways in which commercial providers can help farmers to be successful. Creating bridges between technology and agriculture is a passion of ours. If you have a different perspective on imagery, we’d love to hear from you! Comment, message or e-mail us to share your thoughts and experiences. - Karen

Access to satellite and drone imagery is still proving its importance in agriculture - and I believe it is because of the very things that can be enabled by Artificial Intelligence.  Satellite imagery can show point in time context, such as conditions during seeding, and harvest and provide visualization of performance and yields.

Many companies are now offering satellite imagery on a daily basis for farmers to be able to analyze what their fields look like, any signs of disease, yellow of the crop (lack of nitrogen), presence of water/water distress.  This is all key, important information to farmers, but it stops short of doing automated image comparisons to highlight to the farmer where the changes are in the field, where the imagery detects that further attention needs to be paid.  

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Drone imagery can enable access to parts of the field that cannot be easily scouted by foot, and can be programmed to automatically take off and fly the field, but requires image stitching/processing which can be extremely challenging when uploading data over slow internet speeds often found in rural areas.

Integration of this imagery with “action taken” would also be hugely helpful.  For example if the farmer sees there is nitrogen deficiency and goes out and does an application, being able to connect that action back to the imagery to determine if that application changes the crop healthy in the next 5-7 days is important.  

Imagery on the fields themselves is also only one application.  Imagery of the farm yard, particularly the bin sites are equally important.  Farmers store their production in bins on-site until their contract calls for delivery.  That means there can be millions of dollars sitting in a bin site awaiting delivery. Just like a grocery store has security cameras to protect their inventory, the same is needed by farmers to protect their bins.  Being able to do so, while detecting only “unrecognized” vehicles/access and alerting the farmer would be of extremely high value. The primary constraint being the rural nature of farm sites, which tend to have lower internet connectivity rates, and slow connection speeds due to the sparcity of the population.  Abilities to compress the data, or process locally and sending only alerts and photo captures of “unauthorized access” would ideally suit the unique constraints of remote sites.

Imagery and it’s impact to the bottom line is still an emerging connection in farming tech, but there are some start ups making exciting progress in this space, and we look forward to seeing more development to meet agriculture needs.

AI in Ag: Autonomous Tractors

Last week we presented at Data Tech 2019 - but the event was sold out and so we know not everyone who wanted to come was able to- so we have broken down our presentation to a few excerpts that we’ll share in the next few days.

Driving a machine that is worth more than your annual salary purely by satellite → inspiring.

While autonomous cars are not yet on the majority of roadways, pieces of equipment that are $0.5M are now being powered across fields globally using the same technology.  It is truly revolutionary, and I highly encourage you if you ever have the opportunity, visit a farm and see what auto-steer feels like.

When I was growing up, and started helping my Dad on the farm, my swathing and combining did look a little more like snakes going up and down the fields than like straight lines.  I zigged and zagged a little bit, I certainly overlapped, and in some cases underlapped (if that’s a word). So, while I would get the field done, it wasn’t the prettiest, and the stubble left behind always showed how straight I had gone, or in my case how off course I had gone.  

So, when I went back to the farm to help with harvest again, about 10 years later, I was absolutely amazed.  My parents had invested in auto-steer in all of their equipment. Honestly, all I was in the cab for was to turn corners at the end of the field.  I had a good 10 minutes of “me time” in between the equipment having any need for me. It was absolutely amazing.

But not only was it amazing for me, it made business sense, and greatly improved environmental sustainability.  So even if autonomous tractors and cars are not yet the norm, GPS and AI have enabled auto-steer for the majority of implements which has enabled:

  1. Improved precision

  2. Accuracy when seeding

  3. Reduced overlap - critical when thinking of chemical and fertilizer application

  4. Reduced carbon footprint - fewer passes across the field

  5. Introduced capabilities in understanding fields at a greater level with big data with geospatial awareness

  6. Enabled tracking of machinery

All from a tiny bubble placed on the roof of each machine.

GPS and AI at work: when you can see straight lines even on an irregularly shaped field!  Drone imagery courtesy of Deer Creek Farms

GPS and AI at work: when you can see straight lines even on an irregularly shaped field!

Drone imagery courtesy of Deer Creek Farms

AI in Ag: What's that Weed?

Recognizing what something is, is so automatic to us, most of us probably do not even think about it anymore. Much like a computer, we either know what something is or we don’t. But have you ever seen something before, snapped and picture and let Google help you figure it out? Then you’ve used AI.

In agriculture, some really cool innovation is taking place to make that recognition of weeds easier. It can be as simple as ‘what is this weed’, or as complex as image recognition of the weed in real time while making a decision as to if to spray the identified plant or not. The binary, good plant/bad plant scenario.

Cameras and sensors have to perform AI on the edge in order to achieve the low latency response time to understand what application to perform as it travels across the field.

Cameras and sensors have to perform AI on the edge in order to achieve the low latency response time to understand what application to perform as it travels across the field.

Spraying of herbicides, insecticides and fungicides can be guided to specifically spray from only the nozzles, or passes of the field that require the treatment.  Innovation in equipment design enables real time IoT imagery to recognize the crop vs. weeds and spray very specifically only on the weeds.  Applying image recognition to agriculture in real time is innovation that improves the farmers ability to keep the land and their plants healthy.

Enablement of such precision applications, and the collection of data requires “smart equipment” and increasingly Data Science algorithms to optimize.  Precision prescriptions, variable rate seeding, fertilizer and spraying are only the start. Many of the interfaces still require refinement to be easy and intuitive to use, but it is the future of farming.

Python Podcast: AI in Ag reaches Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Python is a programming language that is prevalent in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

Python is a programming language that is prevalent in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

We had the opportunity to connect with Kelly & Sean - two amazing educators from Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale Florida, and hosts of the podcast Teaching Python. Kudos to their school for incorporating Python into the curriculum for a 9 week technology focus.

Check out the episode featuring FarmFemmes here.

Are you an educator that wants to stay in touch? Fill out the form below to be added to the FarmFemmes e-mail list, where we’ll keep you up to date on upcoming coding camps, curriculum and AI in Ag topics.

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The best way to predict your future is to create it

Based on our experiences, kids seek out opportunities they know about and are exposed to.

Having worked myself in the field of AI for 15 years, I can tell you that a) I work from home, b) I can be there for my kids before and after school c) I can coach their sports and d) I can work from anywhere in the world that has internet access. A career in AI helped me to create the future for myself that was flexible and yet super rewarding. But back to answering your question specifically….

Q: I watched the videos last week about the applications of AI, but is it really something my kid could do for a job?

  • We’re going to answer that in 2 ways because as parents ourselves we want 2 things for our kids 1) we want them to be happy, life is too long to do a job you don’t love and 2) we want them to be able to support us when we are old  - okay no seriously we want them to be able to support themselves

  • The ultimate is to be able to find a job that is BOTH

  • We may be biased, but we think technology in agriculture is that 100% perfect blend, farming provides an amazing lifestyle and freedom to be your own boss. The average salary for a Data Scientist is $84k per year in Canada and $117k per year in the United States, no matter which country you live in, that’s a great opportunity!

  • We also know that you really don’t know if you’ll like something if you don’t try it, awareness is often the biggest hurdle, and so AI in a Day is just that.

So, for 7 hours and $100 (or FREE if you sign up for the June 15th camp thanks to our generous sponsors), you can determine if AI is the career that piques your kids interest.

Your kids will walk away from camp with 4 things:

  • Knowledge of what a career in AI could be

  • Ability to create 3 basic types of AI algorithms

  • Tools/resources to build these algorithms anywhere in the world for FREE for the first year with just a computer and internet access

    • Don’t have a computer or laptop for your kid? We are offering the Chromebook laptop they will be using in class for $275 (CAN). We know parents are busy, so we have taken the work of research out of the mix for you based on previous camp feedback.

  • And an awesome Farm Femmes quick dry t-shirt

What is Image Recognition?

There are a lot of applications of image recognition, from determining the types of weeds in your field to the color of your soybeans as they are sorted, but we are going to focus on faces today.

As we have been going full fledge on promoting the launch of Code Camps: AI in a Day in Manitoba, we’ve learned that we need to show what image recognition is! So we’re going to break it down for you and since we’re posting this on social media we know you have used image recognition, but here is a 10 second taste.

Step 1: Submit a ‘reference’ picture  Step 2: Submit a second picture (e.g. multiple people, wearing a hat, draw on a mustache)

Step 1: Submit a ‘reference’ picture

Step 2: Submit a second picture (e.g. multiple people, wearing a hat, draw on a mustache)

Step 3: Press Analyze & view the results (face match on Teresa, no face match on Karen)

Step 3: Press Analyze & view the results (face match on Teresa, no face match on Karen)

  • It’s the technology underlying auto-tagging who else is mentioned in your picture, but it has a ton of really cool applications from unlocking your phone, to pulling up the sales reports for your region to auto-calculating paychecks based on hours worked on remote work sites to bio-security…. That and it’s super fun to play with!

  • AND remember, camp on June 15th is FULLY SPONSORED, so if you want to sign up, there is NO FEE on June 15th in Morden/Winkler so check out farmfemmes.com for more info!

    • If you or your company is interested in providing sponsorship so the kids in your community can attend AI in a Day for free, contact us at office@farmfemmes.com to learn about our sponsorship packages

The future world is in my classroom today

Okay, that’s a bold statement, but we TRULY believe at Farm Femmes that the future will include agriculture and it will include artificial intelligence and we are 100% vested in making sure that EVERYONE has the opportunity to be prepared for the future.

Can my kids really do this?  I don’t know if I could do this, so how could they do it?

  • Absolutely!  Fear is normal, none of us like to look silly or stupid in front of our peers and we get that. So re-frame the question, do I want my kid to be prepared for the future and have an awesome career? If you answered ‘yes’ than read no further and go and sign up now!

  • AI in a Day is designed so absolutely every kid will be successful at the end of the day, regardless of how much or how little they have used technology

  • The benefit of AI in a Day is that it is small teacher/studio ratios, we want kids to be successful and we love seeing your kids light up

  • We love it when you share your kids with us for the day - and honestly - we all want our kids to find careers that will make them happy and successful

We all start learning somewhere, and we’re so excited to be sharing the future throughout Manitoba and South Dakota this summer!

Have more questions? Message us or e-mail office@farmfemmes.com.