January 20, 2020

PrecisionAg VISION Conference Recap- Humble discussion forum for the doers

Anastasia Volkova, PhD
Chief Executive Officer

It is refreshing to see an industry event filled with professionals from all sectors of the supply chain unified in their respect for precision agriculture, coming together to have robust discussions about the most pressing issues. Here are our notes and brief takeaways about the current state of the industry.

Precision agriculture and agtech as its indispensable part are maturing.

We have graduated from the talk about our features that sounds more like a marketing pitch to elevating the conversation to outcomes for growers and discussing the issues of adoption, value creation and capture. The outcomes are profound. We are formulating the agtech value to be more than a combination of the usual 4 elements: Increase Yield, Lower Costs, Improve Margin, Reduce Impact. We start seeing traction as the consequence of meaningful relationships with the customer and ability to listen, learn, and the courage to show up alongside them in the “messy middle”. Formulating a mutually beneficial business model, thinking through a scalable GTM plan and a pathway to implementation when investing in technology is the work that we need to do together with our customers rather than pushing it onto them.

In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.

Eric Hoffer

We recognize no one has all the answers, and most people agree that we need to team up to find them. Three-five years into the most recent wave of precision ag, we have started to realise that product specialization in combination with platform integration can result in a smooth workflow, which will delight customers. The uncertainty, however, in the value of the individual pieces/modules as well as the whole (along with many other factors like aspirations of each individual company) keeps us away from building a functional business model to support critical partnerships.

We are coming to recognize the value of data exchange and one-way/import API integrations but are still dabbling with the concept of an inter-connected farm, where data can flow in both directions (in and out), to partner more readily and let others build/enhance their own dashboards. There is still a degree of tension between customers’ requests for a “single pane of glass” (and some decide to build it themselves) and the preference of most companies to keep data behind a hard-to-get-access-to API with the outlook for doing analytics one day.

We are also raising questions about the changing role of the farmer and the potential for the supply chain with precision agriculture taking a major role with more tech, data analytics and robotics used on farms every year. Half a year ago, our CEO Anastasia Volkova, PhD published a blog on the topic, exploring the idea of the future role of the farmer and why future generations might find agricultural industry attractive. It seems appropriate to extrapolate the assumption about the tech farmer of the future and apply it to the tech-savvy consumer of the future with the expectation of sustainability, and traceability, which are once again the requirements that can be fulfilled through the adoption of agtech.

Overall Impression

PrecisionAg VISION Conference brought together passionate solution-seekers, hands-on PA users and decision-makers, facilitating an engaging discussion about meta-concepts mixed in with the grounded focus on the practical outcomes.

Looking forward to the VISION 2021 already.

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