It’s May – the time of year when ag retailers and their grower-customers are busily doing all manners of field work. Starting south and working northward, the nation’s crop acres will be humming with plenty of activity, from planters putting in seed to retailers laying down numerous crop nutrients.
And through most of this rush to get things ready for another crop season, technology will be paramount to getting everything done on time. Recognizing this, CropLife magazine turns its attention to technology this time of year. In this month’s issue, the cover story looks at the up-and-coming unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) marketplace. In June, we will present our annual update on the state of the precision agriculture sector.
To appreciate why the role of agricultural technology is growing, consider the audience. Based upon many general populace surveys, smartphones and automobile GPS systems have become almost universal in their usage. In addition, a sizable portion of ag retailers and growers have embraced these technological devices in their operations as well.
And this trend toward more technology is likely to accelerate. According to the latest Census of Agriculture data from USDA, 22% of all growers were beginning growers in 2012. This means that one out of every five growers has operated a farm less than 10 years. Furthermore, the number of these younger/beginning growers increased 11.3% between 2007 and 2012.
This generation of growers will not only expect to use new technologies in their farming operations, they will likely demand them from their ag retailers. Our industry must be ready to accommodate this segment if we are to remain viable businesses in the future.