Highlighting growing portfolio of innovative agricultural AI work

The agriculture industry faces growing threats from changing climate, extreme weather, water scarcity, and labor shortages and is looking to trusted partners like Washington State University for practical solutions.

A few of these innovative solutions involving groundbreaking artificial intelligence were on display in Washington, D.C. this week for an AI Research Institutes Congressional Showcase, organized by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

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WSU leads the Institute for Agricultural AI for Transforming Workforce and Decision Support, commonly known as AgAID, launched in 2021 with support from NSF and the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The institute integrates researchers across the country from multiple disciplines to empower agriculture with trailblazing AI-tools to aid in decision-making and workforce development.

AgAID Director Dr. Ananth Kalyanaraman and Ines Hanrahan, Ph.D, Executive Director of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission and Chair of AgAID’s External Advisory Board.

AgAID Director Dr. Ananth Kalyanaraman was joined by Ines Hanrahan, Ph.D, Executive Director of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission and Chair of AgAID’s External Advisory Board, for the trip to D.C.

In conversations with NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan and Senator Maria Cantwell, Dr. Kalyanaraman talked about how AgAID researchers harness the combined power of human and artificial intelligence in key areas related to perennial specialty crops and are developing predictive AI models that allow farmers to effectively predict and respond to extreme weather like frost and drought.

AgAID’s work was also on display at Senator Cantwell’s “Future of AI” convening in Seattle last month, where Sen. Cantwell praised WSU’s continued leadership around artificial intelligence in precision agriculture.

The group is continuing their work to find inclusive and user-friendly technologies to improve farm workers’ experience and productivity in the field in complex tasks such as tree-fruit pruning, harvesting and blossom thinning.

AgAID is also developing machine learning models to improve seasonal and long-term forecasting so that irrigation managers and farmers can better distribute scarce resources like water.

The researchers imagine a sustainable future in agriculture, where humans and AI work in harmony to feed a growing population and believe these innovations can be extended beyond high value specialty crops to address various agricultural challenges globally.

To learn more about WSU’s work on artificial intelligence, contact Jacob Dowd, Assistant Director of Federal Relations, at jacob.dowd@wsu.edu.