The agriculture sector is poised with the greatest question of our times: How to ensure that our growing population is well-nourished with enough food while adapting to climate change? International discourses on hunger highlight that there’s an acute need to find innovative solutions to augment agricultural productivity by making our food production systems more sustainable.
Similar to what the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition shared, most of the farmers in the 21st century is aging, and our new generation of farmers is encountering various socioeconomic and environmental challenges. Therefore, the cultivation of new talents and youth education through knowledge and skill transfers are increasingly hotly supported topics in the global arena.
So, the big question arises: How to increase agricultural productivity and crop yields by engaging young people?
Through collaborating with Seeed and the National Future Farmers of America Organization, Microsoft developed the “FarmBeats for Students Program”. This program seeks to bring technology tools into the hands of young people to learn about AI, Machine learning, and IoT on the topic of precision agriculture. By making curriculum, activities, as well as a IoT hardware and software affordable for educators and students, hands-on and learning-by-doing education can be actualized: application of precision agriculture technologies to sustainable food production.
FFA is a leading youth organization in the USA, which prepares its youth members with necessary leadership skills, personal growth opportunities, and career options by providing hands-on agricultural education in 3 domains: science, technology, and business.
Since 2019, there has been continuous communication between Microsoft and Seeed about bringing the “FarmBeats for Students Program” to classrooms. Therefore, Seeed is very happy and honored to join the hands of Microsoft and FFA to launch the “FarmBeats Student Kit” on the 4th of March, 2021 – the World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development, promulgated by UNESCO.
With more than 1 year of testing, refinement, and optimization, we are excited that the FarmBeats Student Kit is now available for every student and every STEAM educator. The Kit consists of hardware, software, curriculum, and other resources, with which you can build meaningful SDG projects on agriculture to bring about long-lasting, positive impact on our planet. Additionally, with an in-depth understanding of AI, Machine Learning, and IoT, we hope that tomorrow’s farmers will be able to do farming more efficiently, productively, and environmentally sound with minimized resource inputs.