At the Agricultural Informatics Lab, we conduct design research and technology development to improve resilience in food and agricultural systems. We build a range of products, from farmer-facing decision support tools and community-oriented local food system toolkits to developer-facing APIs that serve a range of agricultural data. We conduct human-centered design research, translate our findings into usable and useful software prototypes, think critically about the role of technology in local and global food systems, and build real tools for real users.

Each of our projects includes a partnership with domain experts and communities (e.g., agronomy researchers, farmers, food hub coordinators), a mix of undergraduate students, graduate students, senior personnel, and interdisciplinary faculty. All our work is grounded in community needs and desires and results in open-source projects.

To keep up with ongoing research and community engagement, please visit aginformaticslab.org

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Our Process

Group of researchers in a classroom meeting
Community-Engaged Design

We facilitate community-driven research to understand human-computer interaction challenges...

Two young females in a video conference
Data Co-Production & Stewardship

We co-create interoperable public agricultural datasets with expert crowds, integrating and...

graphic with data model
Build Models of Plants to Foodsheds

We develop domain-appropriate descriptive and predictive computational models and simulation...

graphic digital prototype tool
Co-Create Open Source Software

We prototype digital tools and release these as open-source projects. Our tech transfer process...

Students on a booth with caption Digital Tool, Feeding our Future
Outreach and Extension!

We engage in public education via community organizing and outreach.

group of researchers on a presentation
Teach, Share, Learn!

We educate the next-gen of agtech workers, through open educational materials and experiential...

Our Research

crop model animationThe DDHT project’s goal is to design decision support tools for midwestern fruit and vegetable growers centered around crop planning and nutrient management. These tools utilize crop growth models and deep learning to simulate probable outcomes of crop planning decisions, such as order of succession planting or cultivar selection. Data collection efforts include the use of a historical variety of trial data, biophysical sampling throughout the agricultural season, and the novel use of mobile device LiDAR to nondestructively sample plant structures. Tools developed from this project will assist small and diversified farmers as they plan their agricultural season.

smart farm graphic diagramDigitizing farms with technologies like IoT or robots is more accessible than ever before. However, with plenty of options, it is still challenging for the farmer to pick the right one that suits their needs. This project aims to create a guide to support farmer's decisions to adapt smart farm technologies. Farm management software, Iot sensor network, computer vision, and robotics will be deployed on the demonstration testbed at the Purdue student farm. These technologies will be evaluated in a practical operation to measure the additional benefits that farmers will gain from using them.

group of people on a meetingPolicy can have wide-reaching effects on our food system and community welfare. This project aims to develop a decision-support tool to enable data-driven food policy-making. This will involve modeling the behavior of a food system and its actors and simulating the impact of disruptions and policy interventions on food security outcomes in a local community. Participatory design methods will be incorporated to build a user-centric tool.

data pipeline graphic diagramModeling data flows across USDA NRCS and other agencies to streamline the data management process, and create conservation data standards to improve farmer service and data access. Additionally, this work explores the ag-data pipeline from Farm Information Management Systems (FIMS) to reporting agencies and scientific models.

cover crop website screen shotDesigning a suite of modular, open source, mobile-friend, offline-compatible software applications to support cover crop management via improved user experiences. Engaging in participatory data stewardship, we set out to overcome data production challenges to provide agricultural data stakeholders with a suite of cover crop datasets through the integration of scientific research data, global earth observation data, expert opinion data, and formalized folk knowledge. This work is a collaboration with four Cover Crop Councils (CCC) across North America. 

pond with aquatic plants and algae Using participatory design to develop databases and tools for conservation planners and farmers, making the adoption of sustainable farming practices more accessible.

Famale student making a poster presentationDeveloping an open-source plant data API that integrates diverse plant data as commonly desired across the open ag tech ecosystem. Data modeling knowledge graphs.

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