Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Using Technology to Agvocate for Farmers

It is easy to see where technology is advancing in everyday life. In your lifetime you have likely made the switch from a flip phone to a smart phone, or when you once consulted a dictionary to spell a word, you now say “Alexa, how do you spell…” and so on.

In some industries it is obvious where technology has made improvements, but it might come as a surprise just how far technology has advanced in the agricultural industry. Take CES for example. This show is a place for the unveiling of the latest and greatest technology that companies have to offer. At the show there is anything from cars, gaming devices, and virtual reality to smart appliances for your home and wearable tech. Oh yes, and a John Deere sprayer. A what? Yes – a sprayer.

For the second year, John Deere exhibited at CES in front of a crowd of more than 175,000 people. The exhibit was likely hard to miss with a R4038 sprayer sporting a 120-foot carbon fiber boom. Deere was in attendance to not only flex their ag muscle, but also their tech muscle to show how technology is changing the face of agriculture.

To John Deere there was no better way to showcase tech than to have those who uses it every day share their experience. Deere customers Jeremy and Elizabeth Jack of Silent Shade Planting Company were invited by Deere and their equipment dealer Wade Litton from Wade, Inc. to do just that. As people visited the booth, their curiosity was piqued. What was this thing and what is its purpose? As the Jacks would explain, technology within their equipment enables them to do more with less while being productive, profitable and sustainable for the future.

The Jacks farm 12,000 acres of corn, cotton, soybeans and rice in the Mississippi Delta, and they have the management of their operation down to a science – literally. With the use of technology and equipment, they can have more time for family activities while still knowing what is happening on the farm from their phone. They can also make more informed decisions for their operation and make adjustments without even sitting in the cab of a tractor. The Jacks know not every field can be treated the same, and not every acre in a given field is identical.

In Silent Shade’s quarterly newsletter, Jeremy Jack said CES provided their farm with a huge opportunity to share their story with a megaphone to a large non-agricultural audience. Until then their main source of communicating was through their newsletter and social media channels. With the display of a sprayer, the Jacks said they were a little nervous CES attendees would focus on chemical use on farms. To their surprise, that was not the case. Instead, people were genuinely curious how the technology was improving agriculture.

The Jacks were excited to be a part of CES 2020, and John Deere was happy to have them share their story and advocate for technology in ag. Like Deere and the Jacks, Ag Day also advocates on behalf of agriculture and educates people on how the advancements in farming will enable farmers to provide more food and fiber to a growing population while practicing sustainability for the future of farming.