Microsoft has partnered with food company Land O’Lakes to drive agricultural innovation and support rural communities by connecting consumers and farmers via cloud-based technologies.
Microsoft says that the partnership will work to “enhance the supply chain, expand sustainability practices for farmers and the food system, and close the rural broadband gap”. Using Microsoft’s cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, the firms aim to “deliver solutions that help farmers’ profit potential and adoption of sustainable agricultural practices”.
“Land O’Lakes is one of the most important food suppliers in the US, and our nation’s farmers and consumers rely on its ability to rapidly adapt to changing market forces through innovation,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “Through our partnership, we will apply the power of Azure and its AI capabilities to help Land O’Lakes solve some of the most pressing challenges facing the industry and bridge the divide between rural and urban communities.”
The companies will develop a connected AgTech platform built on Azure. It will harness Azure FarmBeats to enable Land O’Lakes to derive insights for intelligent agriculture solutions and help farmers be more productive with their time and resources. They will also create a Digital Dairy solution that will use edge computing to capture data from farms with poor internet coverage, and AI to provide data-driven insights for dairy producers. The solution will use weather, feed management and animal health data streams to improve profit potential, reduce waste and enhance traceability through the supply chain.
Microsoft and Land O’Lakes will also combine their own rural connectivity initiatives to close the broadband gap and enable better access to telehealth, educational resources and digital skilling. As part of this, Microsoft says they are working together to turn on free public wi-fi at more than 150 locations in 19 states.
“As America’s farmers continue to deliver the world’s safest, most affordable food supply, they face an increasing number of obstacles that are beyond their control,” said Beth Ford, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes. “The data-based, precision agriculture tools that we are building with Microsoft will provide the edge they need, but unreliable or non-existent high-speed internet in rural areas keeps these tools out of reach for many. Through this alliance, we will work to address this need and help farmers remain profitable and sustainable.”
Find out more about the partnership between Microsoft and Land O’Lakes on microsoft.com.