Monday, February 21, 2011

A New Age for Agriculture

Submitted by Greg D. Horstmeier, Editor-in-Chief, DTN/The Progressive Farmer

Given the rapid pace at which business moves today, it’s no surprise that the technology used in the agriculture industry is evolving on a regular basis. From equipment used in the field to the methods used for buying and selling grain, the industry has seen considerable changes over the past couple decades.

Paper maps, notepads and rotary phones have been replaced by GPS guidance, smart phones and apps. 

For more than 25 years, farmers have relied on technology from Telvent DTN to give them the latest in cash and futures market information, detailed weather and news events.

In the beginning, the company known as Data Transmission Network fed commodity markets and weather information through satellite-based terminals. Over time, that technology evolved and information was delivered to most farmers’ computers. Although the information was accessed via the Internet, farmers and agribusinesses had one option for buying and selling grain: an old-fashioned telephone call, which usually took place before or after the day’s work in the field.

Now, the new breed of agriculture professionals no longer need to be in front of their computer to track the latest market movements, weather forecasts or industry news. Critical business information can be obtained through mobile devices, including cell phones, smart phones, personal electronic devices and even iPads. With the touch of a finger, farmers can stay on top of information that has a direct impact on their operations. 

In addition, farmers and agribusinesses are now engaging in more transactions through online portals. In 2010 alone, more than 113 million bushels were transacted through the Telvent DTN Portal™, nearly double the amount that was transacted through the portal the previous year. 

As the agriculture industry continues to find new ways to optimize the way it does business to keep up with the demands from a growing world population, we celebrate the advances that have already been made in the field and the innovations that are still to come.