When thinking about life on a farm, many people might automatically think of a big red barn full of cows and horses. Today, however, the picture is quickly changing. The modern, successful farmer is highly-connected, utilizing the latest in crop, animal, and equipment management technology to create efficient, effective operations. So what are some of these new trends and technologies being used?
- Smartphones – Not just a way to make or take a phone call, they can help farmers keep track of their nutrients, manage tasks, and monitor equipment. Best of all, they allow the farmer to access these features from anywhere on their farm, or even out on the road. They are becoming as invaluable to agriculture as a shovel.
- Big Data – It’s a great catchphrase, but it is also very important to agriculture in that it can bring together data from around the world, or just on the local level, for analysis and action. This helps to eliminate trial and error, and provide better, more predictable results for operations of all sizes.
- Precision – From drones that can survey crops, to sensors, to robotics, precision agriculture is becoming more and more prevalent. Utilizing these tools to decide the application of inputs as well as the amount and location of inputs helps create sustainable, successful agriculture.
- Agriculture as Everyday Life – In what has been a surprising turn, agriculture has rebounded to become an increasing part of everyday life, and something that is at the forefront of the minds of the consumer. Consumers care about where and how their food is produced, desire local products, require transparency and information, and are aware of the need for environmental responsibility and conservation in agriculture. This trend towards the consumer caring more than before will continue to snowball.
- Agritourism – Not only do consumers care, they want to get involved. This means homestays at farms, bed and breakfasts, farm breweries, hands-on attractions, and so much more. It is a sector that continues to increase as time passes, and offers potential for increased revenues.
Clearly, the agricultural sector is undergoing a major shift in perception and processes. As new technologies continue to be launched, it will be interesting to see how farmers will incorporate new emerging trends.