Are Precision Agriculture Professionals Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
Editor’s note: Satshot CEO Nathan Faleide has a passion for farming and precision ag that he shares on a regular basis on CropLife.com sister site, PrecisionAg.com. Here’s a snippet of one of Nathan’s more popular articles, in which he implores you to think about how precision agriculture affects the everyday decisions growers and trusted advisers make, as well as how it affects the world outside of agriculture.
We all remember that TV trivia show with good ole Jeff Foxworthy, right? He’d ask an average adult 5th grade level questions while also seeing if a few select 5th graders themselves could outsmart them. It made great TV and also made adults question whether they actually had any smarts themselves anymore. I was thinking of this the other day and, using the same premise, asked myself “Is the precision agriculture industry smarter than the understanding and thought process of a 10- to 11-year old child?” Let me elaborate…
I’m not trying to say the agtech/precision ag industry is behind or not smart, but I want to put it in perspective to what that show actually showcased in my opinion. Sure, some adults didn’t remember basic geography or science facts that were taught when they were younger. For example, the capital of Egypt…. Cairo, or the first element on the periodic table…Hydrogen. Most of these kids were used to the type of questions that adults more or less didn’t think of anymore in their day-to-day lives. Of course, did the kids actually understand why Hydrogen is the first element and how it came to be and how it is used, or the rich history and human evolution surrounding Cairo in Egypt? Likely not. As well as many adults, the kids maybe couldn’t comprehend all of the other pieces to the puzzle.
Does the precision ag industry and the many people, groups, and companies involved in agriculture really take an understanding to what the technology they are selling or promoting does to the industry of agriculture itself? I would say many do but also many do not. This is a very large issue and one that I hear more and more concerns about, especially from veteran agronomists and precision ag specialists.
I think we are at a tipping point in precision ag — one that reflects how technology will solve all the answers, while many know that it’s not the only answer. You may know the answer to the question, but do you really understand why that answer is right or wrong? Does the precision ag industry understand the impact it is making with business decisions and even family decisions? Do we fully know how changing rates to certain areas affect the biology and sustainability of the system and environment it impacts? Do we feel the changes it makes to lifelong workers in ag and how that affects their job and families? My role here is not to answer those questions for you but for you to think of how technology will actually impact not only your position in ag, but others as well.