Envisioning 2050 in the Southeast: AI-Driven Innovations in Agriculture

A joint effort from all the land grant universities in the southeast. Funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Event Dates: 3/9/2022 – 3/11/2022

Artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled decision support systems, automation and robotics have the potential to transform agriculture in the Southeast. Current challenges of growing population, climate change, water supply demands, shortage of labor, emerging pests and diseases, producing more with less, and customer demand for sustainable products place stress on the future of Southeastern agriculture. However, incorporating AI into agriculture and food systems in the region can improve the productivity, efficiency and sustainability of agricultural practices and post-harvest processing, strengthen animal and crop breeding, reduce risks from pest and diseases, increase the quality and safety of food, strengthen farmers’ advisory systems, and improve the resilience of agriculture in light of climate change.

Universities and this industry are working on AI-enabled technologies and techniques such as new decision support tools, machinery for production management, improvement of biodiversity and conservation, and precision application of agricultural inputs, among others. Southeastern university teaching efforts in AI have also been strengthened in recent years.

Considering these academic and production-system advancements, our conference will build momentum for AI in agriculture. Specific emphases will focus on projects and applications within the Southeast agricultural production area, and projects developed in close collaboration with the region’s agricultural producers and food production industry.


  • Faculty: $300 (Early $300, late $350)
  • Post – Doctoral Scientists: Early $250, late $300
  • Graduate Students: $50
  • Virtual option: $50 for everyone

Registration will be open on December 15, 2022.

Join us Virtually

In-person participation is limited due to the capacity of the conference venue (350 people maximum). However, we will be offering a virtual option for people that are interested and cannot attend in person. This virtual option will be a limited version of the in-person conference.

Virtual participants will have access to plenary and breakout sessions. Virtual access will run concurrently with the in-person conference (March 10-11), and the virtual program recordings will be released by March 30.


Why should you attend?

University faculty and students, industry members, and representatives of different stakeholder groups will share expertise, vision and needs for the development of an AI-driven agriculture in the Southeast. Participants will also learn about the development of AI in agriculture at various universities and the growth of resources, infrastructure and personnel available for AI and related technology in agriculture and natural resources. It is expected that multi-institution and multi-disciplinary collaborations will be formed from this interactive exchange.



This conference will provide a space for networking and future collaboration opportunities, which is key to advance innovations and strengthen the future of agriculture. We hope the attendees of this conference will grow in knowledge of AI uses and form a plan to advance AI applications in agriculture in our region.

Conference Schedule


Wednesday 3/9 – Early Registration

  • 1:00 PM – Registration is open until 5:00 PM
  • 1:00 PM Pre-conference workshop: Latest AI techniques for data analysis and modeling in Agriculture. – Large scale management of heterogeneous Ag data for AI, Convolutional neural network (Imaging-focused), Machine learning for decision making in Ag
  • 4:00 PMAnnouncements and adjourn


Thursday 3/10

  • 7:30 AM – Registration open until 8:30 AM
  • 8:30 AM Open Plenary: Re-imagining the future of food production – The innovations that will change agriculture
  • 9:30 AM – Coffee Break
  • 10:00 AM Breakout Sessions: AI Applications in Crop Management, AI in Food Processing and Supply Chain, AI-Related Innovation in the Classroom
  • 11:45 AM – Lunch
  • 1:00 PM Panel: Nexus of Academia, Industry, and Government to realize the power of technology and AI in agriculture
  • 1:55 PM Facilitated Working Session: How to strengthen Intra-university & universi-ty/industry collaboration, Barriers to implementation, Adapting teaching andextension methods
  • 3:10 PM Concurrent Breakout Sessions: AI for climate resiliency and adaptations, AI applications in breeding, AI cutting edge methods and technologies
  • 4:50 PM – Coffee Break
  • 5:30 PM Poster Session

Friday 3/11

  • 7:30 AM – Coffee and Conversation
  • 8:00 AM Concurrent Breakout Sessions: AI applications in livestock management, AI applications in agricul-tural extension, Social implications of AI-driven agriculture
  • 9:35 AM – Coffee Break
  • 9:50 AM Panel: Putting research and technological advances in the hands of stakeholders what we should do to convert research to practice
  • 10:45 AM Facilitated Working Sessions: Governmental infrastructure needed, Infrastructure, cost, and personnel resources, Needs for policy change
  • 11:45 PM Lunch & Closing Plenary
  • 1:35 PM Announcements and adjourn



Workshop & Sessions


A Pre-conference workshop will be focused on “Successful case-studies of AI techniques in Agriculture”. This workshop will target undergraduate and graduate students as well as university faculty interested in getting an update on AI related data analysis methodologies.


Nine breakout sessions will cover multiple applications of AI and automation in agriculture and food systems. These concurrent sessions will address topics related to AI applications in:

  • Crop management
  • Food processing and supply chain
  • Climate resiliency and adaptations
  • Crop and animal breeding
  • Livestock management
  • AI -related innovation in classrooms,
  • Applications in agricultural extension,
  • Cutting-edge AI methods and technologies for research and teaching
  • Social Implications of AI-driven agriculture

Other subjects that will be covered include AI innovation in classrooms, agricultural extension, and cutting-edge AI methods and technologies for research and teaching. Each breakout session will have at least one speaker from industry, academia, and stakeholder group.


A Peer Review Poster session will highlight the work of undergraduate, graduate students, and/or individuals with less than five years postgraduate career-track experience. Abstracts submitted to the poster session that pass a peer review process will be selected for on-site presentation and the others will be invited to a virtual poster session.

As part of this poster session, participants will be invited to compete on the Cotton Incorporated Early Career Research Challenge. This challenge will invite participants to submit innovative, non-tested ideas that serve to advance AI in agriculture. Posters must succinctly present the background and need for the proposed AI application, the methodology that should be implemented to develop and test their proposed idea, and a section that will explain how the proposal will positively affect southeastern agriculture.

The awarded work will receive travel funds from Cotton Incorporated to attend a professional conference in 2022 to give a presentation on their proposed work. The travel funds award will be for an amount of $2,000.

Abstracts deadline is January 17, 2022.

Finale & Take-a-way



All the discussions and recommendations from participants will be compiled int a report that will be shared with USDA-NIFA, university administration, and participants.

In addition, some of the speakers will be invited to prepare manuscripts which will be compiled into the Journal of the ASABE Special Collection Artificial Intelligence Applied to Agricultural and Food Systems.

Main Organizers

20160718, Brenda Ortiz, College of Agriculture, Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences

Brenda V. Ortiz

Professor and Extension Specialist – Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences Department. Auburn University

Precision Agriculture, Irrigation and Crop Growth Modeling



Kati Migliaccio

Professor and Chair – Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department, University of Florida

Water Conservation, Hydrology, and Irrigation in Agricultural, Natural, and Urban Systems.



Alex Thomasson

Professor and Head – Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Mississippi State University

Robotics, Sensing and Artificial Intelligence for Agriculture


Breakout & Working Sessions Organizers


Ioannis Ampatzidis (University of Florida)


Yin Bao (Auburn University)


Ed Barnes (Cotton Incorporated)


Jeremiah Davis (Auburn University)


Susan Duncan (Virginia Tech University)


Ali Fares (Prairie View A&M University)


Thanos Gentimis (Louisiana State University)


Gopal Kakani (Oklahoma State University)


Joseph Quansah (Tuskegee University)


Carlos Rodriguez (University of Kentucky)


Jeyam Subbiah (University of Arkansas)


Di Tian (Auburn University)


Margarita Velandia (University of Tennessee)


Timothy M Young (University of Tennessee)



This two-and-half-day conference will include a combination of invited plenary presentations, two-panel sessions, nine concurrent breakout sessions that include invited oral presentations, six facilitated working sessions, a poster session, and a pre-conference workshop on current and advanced AI-driven data analysis.

Note: If you register early to the conference, you will receive a special rate hotel booking code.

The conference is scheduled for March 9-11, 2022 at:

The Hotel at Auburn University & Dixon Conference Center
241 S College St, Auburn, AL (AUHCC)

Other hotels are also available within blocks of the Auburn University campus: