A Deeper Dive Into The Future Of Precision Ag
For about two decades now, through the good and the bad times, the ups and the downs inherent in agriculture, we’re proud to say that when it comes to precision agriculture, we’ve stayed the course.
Way back in what seems like ancient history today, with the dawning of the Internet age, publicly accessible global positioning, and rapidly improving microprocessors, we saw the potential that technology was going to have in agriculture — so much so, that we dedicated a brand called PrecisionAg to covering the products and trends in this fast evolving space.
A lot of media companies, not to mention manufacturers, gave up or put aside precision after the dot-com bust in the early 2000s, but we persevered. When automatic steering, high accuracy GPS, and cellular wireless connectivity emerged and began taking over the market, we were pleased to have been on the front lines. Patience does pay sometimes.
These days, the interest is best described as “off the hook.” We’re fielding phone calls from every direction almost every day, asking us where precision technology is headed into the future.
All this interest and activity has been both a blessing and a curse. A media company like ours, which has sat square in the middle of this market for so many years, thrives on the kinds of challenges, opportunities, and questions that have made gauging the future of ag technology so confounding. But the challenges are deep and real.
First, there have been many technologies that have rolled out well in advance of the farmer’s ability to create value from them. Drone use is a primary example, but I would add in variable-rate and variable-hybrid seeding and imagery technologies that are not used to their fullest potential.
We also have a nagging lack of compatibility across hardware and software. When you see what modern cellphones and mobile technology is capable of in making our everyday lives more connected, it becomes crystal clear how much technology value we are leaving on the table.
Finally, we’re seeing unprecedented interest and investment from outside of agriculture — big industries and mega-technology companies that see the potential in marrying their technologies and products to the needs of our agriculture.
With all this going on, and the genuine need for education and networking to facilitate technology understanding and use to move forward, we’re launching a new annual conference this fall. The PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 18-20 in Phoenix, AZ, is designed to provide a place where ideas and concepts will intersect and cross pollinate.
Attendees will experience three days of presentations, networking, and learning, with a focus on how agriculture technology moves forward, and what other organizations and industries can contribute as agriculture finds its path forward.