A new research facility called the Center for Applied and Artificial Intelligence is set to be built in Southeastern Hillsborough County, near the University of Florida/IFAS Research and Education Center in the Balm area. The facility, with an estimated cost of $20 million, aims to attract AI companies and related industries to the area, potentially turning it into the “Silicon Valley” of artificial intelligence for agriculture.
The center is expected to create more than 100 jobs and is already receiving funding from the federal government, the state, and Hillsborough County. It has been deemed essential for ensuring food safety and reducing costs in today’s competitive environment. Kenneth Parker, the executive director of the Florida Strawberry Grower’s Association, emphasized the importance of embracing cost-saving opportunities through AI in order to stay in business.
Researchers from the neighboring UF/IFAS facility are already working on drones, robots, and other technologies to help farmers compete with crops produced using cheap labor in other countries.
The new center offers potential for advancements in agriculture by integrating artificial intelligence technologies. Its strategic location will provide access to cutting-edge research, resources, and collaborations with the University of Florida and other local institutions.
With the center’s opening targeted within the next three years, Southern Hillsborough County is poised to embark on a technology-driven growing season. The development of AI in agriculture will not only contribute to the growth and efficiency of local farming practices but also ensure a reliable food supply within the United States.