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OpEd | SAS, NC State form ag partnership

Opinion/Editorial | To feed a world population approaching 10 billion by 2050, global food production must become more efficient. Ongoing advances in agricultural research and farm management practices are helping improve food production, but the advent of artificial intelligence and advanced analytics could hold the key to agriculture’s future.

Cary, NC-based SAS is forging a new agricultural technology business unit to help growers and agribusiness leaders turn an exploding amount of farm and agricultural data into insights that inform safe and secure food production. SAS is also enhancing agricultural research and talent development through its support of the North Carolina Plant Sciences Initiative at North Carolina State University (NC State). 

SAS was born at NC State, where the company’s first project was analyzing crop yield data. Recent estimates suggest there will be more than 4 million data points generated each day by individual farms by 2050.

“Our company’s heritage uniquely positions SAS to address these challenges,” said SAS CEO Jim Goodnight. “We’re at a critical point in human history where the threat of widespread hunger is more real than ever. We have the opportunity to help farmers be more productive through the power of AI and analytics and get more food from fields to tables around the world.”

As a global leader in accelerating plant science innovation and talent development, the NC Plant Sciences Initiative at NC State convenes experts from academia, government and industry to drive vital cross-disciplinary research that increases crop yields, creates new varieties, extends growing seasons, enhances sustainability, and produces new and improved technology.

As part of its support, SAS will embed full-time data scientists within the NC Plant Sciences Initiative to collaborate on various research efforts. The SAS Global Academic Program is also developing resources to help create the next crop of agricultural analytics experts.

“NC State is proud to have SAS partner in the NC Plant Sciences Initiative, a critical effort to keep the university at the forefront of plant science research and education, and to keep North Carolina agriculture competitive in a global market,” said Chancellor Randy Woodson. “SAS’ support will help secure NC State as a global leader in agriculture-related data and analytics that will help growers make data-driven decisions and more efficiently and effectively feed a growing world population.”

The views expressed on CountyNC's Editorial Page do not necessarily represent the opinions of the CountyNC company or its employees.