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NIFA FACT Workshop: Big Data Analytics in Plant Breeding & Satellite Data and Modeling Workshop

When and where

Date and time


Hilton 950 North Stafford Street Arlington, VA 22203

Map and directions

How to get there


Field phenotyping is a rapidly growing field, and this is a timely opportunity for a cross- disciplinary meeting that brings together plant breeding and analytics with phenotyping data and modeling. Recent meetings, including events from SPIE (the International Society for Optics and Photonics), Autonomous Air and Ground Sensing Systems for Agricultural Optimization and Phenotyping, ASPB Phenome 2017, and the 2017 Tri-Societies meeting addressed similar topics, but have not made a deep description of necessary analytical approaches or extensively engaged researchers to collaboratively mine public datasets, as will be undertaken at this conference. Remote sensing technologies, deployment platforms (e.g. unmanned aerial vehicles – UAVs, ground vehicles) and statistical analytics are rapidly being developed into high throughput phenotyping tools for plant breeding, plant biology and plant genetics as well as into precision agriculture tools for agronomy, soil sciences and farmers. The largest challenge now is to ensure that the plant science communities and data analytics communities know how to use this data to deliver actionable results for scientists and farmers. Coordination and interaction between the key disciplines of breeding, agronomy, computer science, data science, engineering and genomics is needed so that these agricultural tools are accessible for broad use. A hackathon and use of the TERRA-REF (the current gold standard of comprehensive crop phenotypic data collection) program data is a novel, tangible and important approach to further develop this integration across disciplines.

Programs in the NGA, ARPA-E, DARPA, USAID and the private sector complement USDA-ARS and USDA-NIFA funded initiatives to develop and integrate satellite data and model-derived tools in plant breeding and agronomy. While the potential of these investigations is high, most activities have been limited in scope and isolated from the larger community of experts and researchers. Transformative knowledge and approaches will result from broader collaboration between plant breeders, scientists, remote sensing experts and big data analytics experts with the remote sensing community. Day Two of this workshop will provide a forum for these groups to develop new comprehensive solutions that can transform agriculture.

This work is supported by the AFRI Foundational Plant Breeding for Agricultural Production Program [Grant Nos. 2017-07762 (Mockler) and 2017-07798 (Shakoor)] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.


What is needed to make my hotel room reservation?

A room block has been reserved at the Hilton Arlington, Virginia with room rates at $169.00 for a single/double, with complimentary Wi-Fi in guest rooms and meeting rooms. Please make every effort to stay in this hotel so that our contracted room block requirement may be fulfilled. The room block is available for arrival Sunday, February 25, with departure Wednesday, February 28. Cut-off date for hotel reservations is February 16, 2018. You will need the group name (AG Data Meeting) and group code (AGD). Click here to book your hotel room reservation.

What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?

This hotel is located convenient to the Ballston-MU metro stop. Parking is also available on the hotel property at prevailing rates.

Will I be reimbursed for my expenses?

Only speakers and organizing committee members will be eligible for some travel reimbursement.

What is the cancellation policy for room reservations?

If a guest does not cancel a reservation 72 hours before 3:00pm of the guest's check-in date, then the hotel may charge the guest's credit card for one night's room fee plus any applicable taxes. Guest must obtain a cancellation number.

I will need to ship packages to the hotel prior to my arrival. What are the procedures to do so?

You must advise us at least two weeks prior to event. Please contact Kathleen Mackey, ( or phone, 314-587-1203), for further information.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

You may do so by emailing or contacting Kathleen Mackey at or by calling 314-587-1203.