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A man in a field of corn inspects the leaves of one of his corn plans. He holds a tablet in his hand.

The agriculture industry is at a turning point. While food may seem plentiful in many global regions, the number of people going hungry has continued to increase over the last nine years. To feed growing populations sustainably and efficiently, the way we produce food must change. From the soil-where improvements to farming practices can help mitigate climate change to the shelf-where customers look for products with minimal carbon footprint-the agriculture and food value chain is primed for innovation.

That’s why we’re thrilled to announce that Microsoft Azure Data Manager for Agriculture is now available in preview. At Microsoft, we’ve long recognized that scaling innovation across the industry starts with data. What began with Project FarmBeats, an ambitious initiative to collect and transform agricultural data, has now evolved into a timely commercial solution.

Azure Data Manager for Agriculture extends the Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform with industry-specific data connectors and capabilities to connect farm data from disparate sources, enabling organizations to leverage high-quality datasets and accelerate the development of digital agriculture solutions. Instead of devoting resources to managing unstructured data, customers and partners can focus on product innovation with the ability to reason over readily available and abundant data. Furthermore, organizations can use in-house, third-party, or Intelligent Data Platform services to speed the path to analytics and business intelligence solutions. With a connected ecosystem of partners building solutions on top of Azure Data Manager for Agriculture, this is another step towards a connected and collaborative agriculture industry.

Accelerate innovation through data

With so much agriculture-relevant data generated across the farm-from sensors in the soil to satellites orbiting the earth-many organizations don’t have the resources to harness it effectively. Azure Data Manager for Agriculture helps break down data silos, allowing organizations to build solutions that provide predictive and prescriptive insights on soil health, changing weather patterns, waste tracking, carbon sequestration, and more.

For example, Bayer used Azure Data Manager for Agriculture to shift from a self-managed data estate to a managed model with Microsoft. Bayer’s FieldView platform harnesses data from Azure Data Manager for Agriculture’s satellite and weather pipelines to enable insights on potential yield-limiting factors in growers’ fields. In addition, Bayer is making their industry-leading expertise available to enterprise customers in the form of AgPowered Services-a set of solutions that ingest data from Azure Data Manager for Agriculture to provide timely insights on crop health, weather forecast, crop growth tracking, and more.

Not only is Bayer running their solutions on Azure Data Manager for Agriculture, but they’re also bringing decades of agriculture expertise to help develop a robust Azure Data Manager. Thanks to our strategic partnership, we’re leveraging Bayer’s industry knowledge-as well as data connectors, models, transformations, and workflows-to inform how we strengthen Azure Data Manager for Agriculture and empower organizations to address the challenges in agriculture today.

Azure Data Manager for Agriculture is an important step towards accelerating the impact of big data and agriculture. With high-quality data fueling insights, we expect to see a value chain that is more predictable, more transparent, and importantly, where the value is shared all the way back to producers.”-Jeremy Williams, Head of Climate and Digital Farming, Bayer Crop Science.

Enable a more sustainable future

Feeding a growing global population and building a healthier world is only possible if sustainability is practiced from farm to fork. With Azure Data Manager for Agriculture, agriculture input providers can accelerate solutions that empower farmers to adopt more sustainable practices. For example, Azure Data Manager for Agriculture is a foundational component for Land O’Lakes’ digital offerings, including the Truterra sustainability tool. Truterra provides insight into how different agricultural practices impact water, nitrogen, and carbon on a farm, and it enables farmers to track their soil’s carbon sequestration and participate in carbon markets.

Through our collaboration [with Microsoft], we are enabling farmers with new services to improve their operations and to quantify data for their customers that tells a story of sustainability.”-Teddy Bekele, Chief Technology Officer, Land O’Lakes, Inc.

Cultivate trust rooted in transparency

Consumers and investors alike are putting pressure on companies to be transparent about their agricultural and sustainability practices. With a clearer view into farm operations, companies can take an important step to establish trust with investors and customers. Azure Data Manager for Agriculture enables organizations to replace self-reported data with high-quality farm data to provide more accurate information to stakeholders-helping companies build brand trust through ethically and sustainably produced products. And as security and privacy concerns grow, organizations can rest assured knowing their data is stored in the most trusted cloud, built to meet stringent security and compliance requirements.

The Microsoft commitment to sustainability

Azure Data Manager for Agriculture is only one part of the Microsoft commitment to accelerating progress toward a more sustainable planet. With their next initiative, Project FarmVibes, Microsoft Research is building toolkits and AI models that are available in Microsoft Open Source to advance agriculture innovation in the scientific community across academia and business.

Microsoft has also launched Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability, which empowers organizations to accelerate sustainability progress and business growth by bringing together a growing set of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) capabilities from Microsoft and our global ecosystem of partners. Together, we are keeping sustainability at the core of our offerings, and we seek to empower organizations to adopt more regenerative and sustainable farming practices.

Learn more and transform your operations today

If you’re interested in using Azure Data Manager for Agriculture for your business, you can sign up here or learn more on the Azure Data Manager for Agriculture website. Azure Data Manager for Agriculture requires registration and is currently only available to approved customers and partners during the preview period.

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