Meet James Fischer, one of MFA’s Ag Experience interns from Appleton City, Mo. James will be a junior at the University of Missouri-Columbia in the fall, where he’s studying agriculture systems technology and plant sciences.
James is working with MFA’s precision agriculture department under his supervisor, Thad Becker. When the weather cooperates, most of the intern's days are spent flying a drone over corn and soybean fields.
“I’m testing many different aspects of the system,” James said. “This includes the hardware for flying the drone and the software side of getting data, analyzing it, sending it out to the key account managers and making sure the data is actually useful.”
James is using the information he collects to help MFA’s precision agriculture department determine if it should invest more resources into the Sentera PHX drone system. In addition to working closely with MFA’s key account managers, James has been in contact with row-crop producers throughout the state.
“When you’re raised on a farm, you grow up talking to other farmers,” James said. “When I get to talk to farmers in a different part of the state, learn more about their operation and see what’s going on, that’s a lot of fun.”
Intern James Fischer’s two main goals for this summer were to learn more about precision agriculture and help row-crop farmers. Through his Ag Experience project with MFA, he’s been able to accomplish both.
James is using cutting-edge drone technology under the guidance of his supervisor, Thad Becker. Ultimately, his project aims to determine if the Sentera PHX drone system will be a beneficial long-term investment for MFA’s precision agriculture department.
“I think there’s really a lot of weight on my decision,” James said. “I know the work I’m doing this summer does matter.”
One of James’ favorite aspects of his project is the potential impacts it may have on row-crop producers. If MFA decides to adopt the technology, the work he does this summer gathering stand counts and plant health data may assist producers in strengthening their operations.
“In farming, every decision is a tough decision. You’re never exactly sure what to do," James said. "Precision agriculture essentially provides data and, if analyzed properly, helps you make more informed decisions.”
MFA Ag Experience intern James Fischer is using the Sentera PHX drone system with help from precision data manager Thad Becker. James has a background and interest in precision agriculture, and flying a drone is only one of the valuable skills he is gaining through his summer project.
“It’s definitely challenged me—not necessarily because the drone is hard to fly—but more so communicating with the key account managers and keeping all the data organized,” James said. “This includes not just the data itself, but knowing which fields you’ve been to and flown, when you need to fly again and keeping your fields in order.”
James says strengthening his communication and organizational skills has been incredibly beneficial and will continue to serve him well in the future. He believes both skills, along with an ability to learn, are helpful to have as an intern.
“Honestly, no matter where you go, you’re always going to need organization and communication. That’s just a great foundation to have,” James said. “If you can take your learning abilities and skills somewhere and get involved, then I think you’ll be set.”
Learn more about the Ag Experience program at https://mfa-inc.com/About/AgExperience.
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