Some may disagree with this statement, but 2016 is a great time to be a farmer. Yes, the agriculture industry is not in the greatest shape, available freshwater is dwindling, and everyone is walking around someone else’s private property with their phones and tablets trying to “catch them all.” BUT, now is the time when farmers can and will make a difference. Here are our four biggest reasons why we feel 2016 is a great time to be a farmer.
1. Farmers have the power to grow more food with less water, helping to solve two very big global challenges: a much larger global population and less available fresh water.
You’ve heard it before: by the year 2050, the global population will reach at least 9 billion people. Basic math tells us that more people equals more housing equals more schools equals more businesses equals much less space to grow food.
However, farmers are smart. In fact, they are among the smartest and most passionate in the world. The farmers of today are looking toward tomorrow in order to feed and clothe 9 billion plus people. Some have even figured out that there is a finite amount of space on the ground, so they have decided to grow up…literally. Urban farms are taking wing, from rooftops to sides of buildings.
Photo courtesy newyork.thecityatlas.org.
In addition to innovative farming techniques, advanced technology from both global players and startups is helping to increase food production and conserve our limited amount of fresh water. The center pivot is one such technology (an oldie, but a goody) that uses precision irrigation (or the use of irrigation water in a very efficient way) to grow healthy, bountiful crops. Variable rate irrigation (VRI) is a newer technology that applies water only where and when it’s needed.
With so many machines, technologies and data available to farmers today, they truly do have the power to make magic happen.
2. Farmers have the ability to spend more time with their family and friends through adoption of new irrigation technologies.
Growers today really have it good, whether they agree me or not. Though I didn’t grow up on a farm, my parents (both Baby Boomers) worked all. The. Time. There were times when my dad had to miss my softball games or dance rehearsal, and this made us both sad. That’s just the way it was and everyone accepted it.
My dad was a banker, so I can only imagine how many ballgames, family gatherings and poker nights farmers had to miss during the same time. They didn’t work 12-hour days like my dad; they worked (and still do work) 16-hour days.
Today, farmers don’t have to miss anything. With one swipe of their smartphone or tablet, they can literally manage their irrigation (and other farm equipment) from mobile apps, providing them an opportunity to have a healthier work/life balance. That’s a pretty cool thing to have; happy people equals happy life.
3. Farmers have an expansive library of information to help them better understand their vocations, share knowledge, and gain education.
Ever hear of irrigation.education? Wikipedia? Google? The internet?
It’s the year 2016, and farmers have a world wide web of information and collaboration to help them make better, more informed decisions, from what tractor to buy to which dealer to service a pivot. The emergence of “big data” has allowed farmers to use the information gathered through their machines and devices to also help them make the most out of their operations.
Guessing how much water to put down on a crop is now a practice of the past. Lying awake at 2:30 in the morning wondering if the center pivot is still irrigating (when it should have turned off 45 minutes ago) should no longer be a reason for insomnia. Answers to both of these “wonderings” exist, through best practice sharing, published white papers, peer-to-peer forums and a farmer’s own data.
4. Farmers have available easy-to-use tools and information to help them keep their data private and secure.
A hot topic nowadays is data security and privacy. Without your data, new precision irrigation and farming tools won’t work their best for you – it’s an essential piece for you to successfully adopt new technologies. So, that being said, what exactly is “data security and privacy”? Just another buzzword like “unicorn” or “Pokémon”? Hardly.
Let’s think of data security as a farm. Inside your farm are chickens, goats and cats. Outside the farm lives a pesky, hungry coyote. What do you do? You’d protect all of your animals from the coyote by doing whatever you can.
In the real world, the chickens, goats and cats are your data. You should take preventative measures to ensure that the coyote (or hackers, unwanted parties, etc.) doesn’t take hold of your animals. Here are some tips on helping make sure that your data remains secured:
- Place your data on a secure website behind encrypted firewalls. In this case, a username and password will be required to access the data. Typically, these sites will begin with “https:” in their website address (URL), rather than “http:”
- Know who has the authority to approve the sharing of your data and who has access to your data. Data sharing can be good or bad. Most growers benefit by sharing the data with their trusted advisor, but it is important to understand if your specific data is shared or sold to others without your knowledge.
- Understand what value the data could provide to your operation. Value can come in various forms, such as better insights into productivity, cost savings, more efficient use of labor, simplified record keeping, etc.
We’re proud of our growers. Can you say the same about your operation? Take a closer look at new precision irrigation technologies today and start building a better world with us.
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