A research hydrologist, a soil scientist and a data engineer walk into a bar… Could be the setup for a nerdy science joke. But instead it’s a snapshot into the lineup for one of the most important events you can attend this year: the NGRA-ARS Sensor Technology Workshop on Wednesday, November 13, in Sacramento!

If you’re like most growers, you probably have at least one sensor brochure on your desk right now. Sensors promise to deliver incredible amounts of critical data about your vineyard. But how do you know what’s real? New sensor technologies are being developed and brought to market so fast and with such varying degrees of efficacy that it can be hard to figure out the full range of technology available; what, exactly, these technologies do—and how well they do it; how to extract tangible, actionable information to make decisions with; and what other, more robust sensors may be available tomorrow, before you invest today. Scientists also need feedback and input into what will make their innovations most useful to growers and learn how other developers are applying the tech. Thus, the National Grape Research Alliance (NGRA) and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) partnered to create the NGRA-ARS Sensor Technology Workshop, a non-commercial, unbiased event designed to provide wine and grape growers an objective, science-based understanding of sensors today, and a two-way dialogue to inform future scientific discovery—all in one day.

Join us on November 13 to meet 28 of the top publicly funded scientists in the sensor space, including researchers from ARS and land-grant institutions. They will present their work developing sensor technologies for vine and soil water status, canopy and irrigation management, and the detection and control of pests and diseases. And they’ll share the data integration and modeling applications that translate sensor outputs into usable information. A panel of growers also will present their experiences applying sensor technologies, giving a real-world perspective on successes, sharing what they’ve learned, and providing input of what advances are yet needed in sensing applications and related decision support systems. Lunch in the middle of the event and a reception at the end of the day will provide attendees and scientists the opportunity to talk one-on-one. Tickets are just $250 per person and partially tax-deductible.

NGRA is a nonprofit organization that aligns the priorities for research across wine grapes, juice grapes, table grapes and raisins, nationwide. And ARS is the USDA’s in-house agency for agriculture research. We invite you to come, help move the state of the art in sensors from “pretty pictures” and “piles of data” (verbatim quotes we’ve heard from growers) to actionable, applicable information that can improve productivity, quality, sustainability and competitiveness for the American grape industries.

Sensors are no joke!

Come geek out on these technologies, November 13 in Sacramento!

Find info and tickets here: graperesearch.org/events/ngra-ars-sensor-technology-workshop-2019/.

Donnell Brown is the President of NGRA, an industry-driven non-profit organization designed to align research priorities at the highest level to strengthen the competitiveness of America’s grape industry. The Lodi Winegrape Commission’s Dr. Stephanie Bolton holds a seat on the NGRA Board as an At-Large Representative.  Featured image provided by the Efficient Vineyard Project.

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