Checkoff News

Tech Toolshed Tackles Data Complexity

ST. LOUIS (March 26, 2019) – On-farm technologies can be as complex as they are essential, but new guidance from the soy checkoff aims to help farmers maximize their data to make the best management decisions.

The soy checkoff’s Tech Toolshed, in partnership with five universities, released a new installment of free resources to help farmers incorporate digital and precision agricultural systems into their farm management strategy.

“The Tech Toolshed can help you improve your decision-making, whether you don’t know where to start with a new technology or you don’t feel like you’re using it most effectively,” said Tom Oswald, United Soybean Board director and farmer from Cleghorn, Iowa.

The newest release focuses on data literacy and offers insights and tips tailored for soybean farmers, to help them better understand the agricultural data landscape, evolving agricultural technologies and data analytics, among other features.

“The inspiration and purpose behind the data literacy project is to develop educational material for soybean farmers and trusted advisors that support farmers in the agricultural data space,” said Dr. John Fulton, associate professor in Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering at The Ohio State University.

The six pillars of data literacy outlined in the Tech Toolshed’s resources are:

  • Fundamentals — How to use on-farm data to maximize profit opportunities.
  • Integrity — How to avoid errors during data collection or processing that may affect results and the decision-making process.
  • Management — How to capture, organize and archive accurate farm data for decision making.
  • Sources — How to identify useful data sources to help in decision making.
  • Utilization — How to use ag data on your farm to reduce risk, maximize profits and reduce inputs.
  • Legal Aspects of Data — How to handle legal responsibilities and rights with farm data.

The Tech Toolshed is an unbiased information source developed by the United Soybean Board to help soybean farmers maximize existing technology, integrate new technology and make use of the vast quantity of data available. The five land-grant universities that collaborated on this project included The Ohio State University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Iowa State University, Purdue University and Kansas State University.

For more information on Tech Toolshed, visit or follow Tech Toolshed on Twitter @TechToolshed.

United Soybean Board’s 73 farmer-directors work on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers to achieve maximum value for their soy checkoff investments. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds in programs and partnerships to drive soybean innovation beyond the bushel and increase preference for U.S. soy. That preference is based on U.S. soybean meal and oil quality and the sustainability of U.S. soybean farmers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff.

For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit


© 2019 United Soybean Board. All Rights Reserved. [58545-CB]

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