Technology helps farms and farmers in a number of ways. Often farmers want to embrace new technologies – they are interested in improving their productivity and sustainability, but that doesn’t always make it easy. In a time of rapid technology advances, it is important to talk about how farmers and tech developers can work together to shorten both the research and development phase AND the adoption lifecycle.
Here are my top 3 asks for the teams of people who develop technologies to assist farmers:
1. Develop technologies to work in places where internet service is not reliable.
Due to the nature of our field locations, there are times when we require store-and-sync or delayed auto-sync options, in addition to cloud-based technologies. (Of course, if there is a team out there who could solve our internet service issues that would be great too!) J
2. Develop technologies that are able to integrate across equipment brands.
For instance, data from seeding equipment and harvest equipment can be used together to inform decisions for upcoming years. The more easily this data can interplay, the better information we can get to make decisions.
3. Develop technologies that are easily scalable or that can be implemented in phases.
New technologies can have “ripple effects” across an operation, so it increases farmers’ ability to adopt new technology when the costs of the upgrades or changes can be spread out over several growing seasons. For instance, in an ideal world, we would have row-by-row control, but for now it is financially feasible to have sectional control – knowing that eventually we can add the parts to make our sections smaller and smaller, until they turn into rows.
Farmers are working hard to be sustainable socially, environmentally and economically. Technology tools can help in all of these areas. When farmers and developers communicate, everyone wins. Efficient research and development cycles are good for companies and result in technologies that are easier for farmers to adopt. In the end, this should have a positive impact on the environment and the consumer. Sounds like a win, win, win, win situation.