Agriculture technology has evolved significantly over the last decade. And there’s still plenty of room for it to grow. As our population grows and our climate evolves, establishing efficient, resilient food production methods will become increasingly important.
If we want food production to become more efficient, however, we must allow technology to help us change. That means establishing a healthy environment, not only for farming, but for ag tech innovation.
What makes a healthy environment for innovation and change? According to experts at this year’s Tech Hub LIVE conference, it’s all about streamlining data and identifying quick insights.
As more technology enters the marketplace, we find ourselves with more data at the tips of our fingers. Data about management practices, soil health, weather patterns and crop performance is more accessible and accurate than it used to be. This information can help tremendously in guiding our farm management decisions and increasing widespread adoption of resilient agriculture.
However, in order to make this data useful, we need to be able to compile the data, watch it over time, and identify the insights that will make the biggest impact. Analyzing each data point without identifying key themes or insights will give us “analysis paralysis,” as Luckey Farms IT Manager Andrew Gladden describes.
Andrew, featured in a panel at this year’s event, said:
“We tend to have analysis paralysis in this industry. We need to be able to compile data and pull insights out of it quickly. We need to start looking at data over time, and put it in a place where we can understand it.”
Understanding and streamlining data will allow us to make efficient, informed decisions about the future of our farms. Streamlining this data will also make resilient farming more profitable for farmers. As Andrew described,
“Analyzing data over time… will affect our costs, and allow us to bring that savings down to the grower.”
This makes the adoption of new practices and technologies more feasible for farmers, and can accelerate the movement towards regenerative agriculture.
Identifying quick insights helps growers expand into new markets, too. Innovations in technology and data can show growers the return on their farm investments, and allow them to access profits with new products.
Carbon markets are a great example of data-led innovation. With technology and new management practices, growers can understand how much carbon is being sequestered in their soil, and sell credits earned from new management practices (and validated through technology). This process — and others like it — will open new doors for growers, and they’re made possible by innovations in data and technology.
Currently, the industry is collecting all the data it can, so that products like carbon credits and other ecosystem credits can be viable and scalable. When asked specifically about carbon markets in a panel at Tech Hub LIVE, Andrew Gladded replied,
“[Luckey Farmers, LLC.] hasn’t gotten to carbon yet, but we have the data. We know we can help growers navigate those markets.”
This response showcases an important idea in technology innovation: though the future of ag technology is uncertain, industry experts are taking advantage of all the data available to prepare for whatever the future brings.
As Jeff Wessels, Acre+ Precision Ag Manager at Frenchmen Valley Coop, said during the same panel,
“We must provide the environment for technology to grow, for efficiency to grow and for the industry to evolve over time.”
Read more insights on the future of ag technology.