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Proposals

South Carolina Crops Data Dashboard/Visualization Tool 

The Issue

 

Clemson Cooperative Extension’s Agronomic Crops and Horticulture Program Teams have worked tirelessly to serve South Carolina stakeholders through many communications obstacles presented by the pandemic. The positive response to virtual resources and networking was an unexpected outcome of their efforts. Stakeholders are primed for elevated online approaches for on-demand access to critical information. Crop trials for economic gain are conducted across the state at the Clemson Experiment Station RECs and farms. However, those who conduct trials have no centralized repository to upload data to. Instead, the data are shared through a few small, underpromoted outlets and in static deliverables that quickly become outdated. The output of diligent work is minimalized and underutilized.

 

A Proposed Solution

 

The solution is a comprehensive “South Carolina Crops Dashboard,” a dynamic public access and visualization tool with a supporting data warehouse that provides seamless compilation, enhanced manipulation, and broad dissemination of crop trial data. Trial coordinators upload data into the warehouse, and dashboard queries pull data that can be used to evaluate variety characteristics and management strategies for crops, site-specific soil, and expected environmental conditions, increasing the overall sustainability of producer operations. Variety selection is the most crucial decision a producer can make each year. If the wrong variety is chosen, a significant yield can be lost. Dashboard data queries are specific to local and geographic regions in the state.

 

The Dashboard serves three purposes:

  1. Provides stakeholders with a public visualization tool for an intuitive graphics interface of dashboard data that allows the selection of crop, locale, and management options scenarios.

  2. Provides a centralized location for Clemson trial coordinators to archive crop trial data that can be utilized to provide validation and accountability for research funding, University support, and new grant applications.

  3. Creates strategic internal communications among various Clemson specialists, agents, and scientists to foster efficient coordination for future crop trials and assess stored data from completed trials.

 

The South Carolina Crops Dashboard will link to a new South Carolina Crops Portal housed within the Land-Grant Press website, which provides significant benefits to stakeholders, including:

  • A publication repository of REC Research Bulletins and short scientific anecdotal publications written by Clemson Extension Specialists, Agents, and scientists and brief blog posts about REC activities, industry news, and regional announcements. The portal offers a subscriber option to receive weekly or time-sensitive emails announcing and linking to newly posted content.

  • Prominent links to the Agribusiness Program Team’s Farm Stress Management Education materials that support the agricultural community’s mental health needs, especially those impacted by COVID-19.

  • Automated digital feeds promoting relevant webinars and events posted on the Clemson Events Calendar and related media releases from the University Relations Clemson News website.

  • Contact links for locating crop-specific Cooperative Extension and CAFLS personnel.

The requested funding is $60K for the following needs:

  • A percentage of salary buyout of a Clemson University database expert to build the dashboard and data warehousing framework.

  • An external vendor to assist Clemson Libraries with digitizing past REC research publications to retrieve and upload past variety trial data into the data warehouse for archival.

Additionally, there is a substantial benefit in exploring a future FTE position for a data management and visualization expert, as the data dashboard’s size and features will quickly expand and require more oversight.

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