Get Smart about Smart Farming: What is it? And Why It’s Changing the Food Industry

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Get Smart about Smart Farming: What is it? And Why It’s Changing the Food Industry

How Smart Farming is Changing the Food Industry

We’ve all heard about smart phones, but what about smart farming? Read our guide to see how precision agriculture is changing the food industry.

Keyword(s): smart farming

It contributed nearly $1 trillion dollars to the US gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015. In 2017, it employed nearly 22 million workers in the US.

It is agriculture and agriculture-related industries. And not only does our nation depend on it. So does the world.

According to current estimates, global food production must increase by 70% within 30 years to meet the demands of a growing population.

The demands on US agriculture will only increase as populations rise and urbanization reduces the amount of land available for food production worldwide.

How is the industry to keep pace? The answer may well be smart farming.

Read on to learn more about this exciting new field and how it may change (and perhaps even save) the world!

What is “Smart Farming”?

Simply put, smart farming is the introduction of advanced information technologies into the farming industry.

This can include everything from the use of sensors and actuators to monitor soil conditions to the tracking of livestock movements through GPS.

There are even fleets of farm drones to assess land, crop, stock, and climate conditions. These drones can even deliver essential resources, from animal feed and water to plant nutrition and supplementation, in targeted areas.

Smart farming is all about harnessing the power of technology and, in particular, technologies connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). The goal is to ensure the highest yields, the healthiest stock, and the safest, surest, and most efficient food production.

Data-Driven Practices

No question about it, Big Data is everywhere. Analytics shape business practices in nearly every industry today.”Evidence-based” practice is the buzzword virtually the world over.

Strikingly, though, agricultural practices have lagged behind this trend. That is, until recently.

Smart farming is, fundamentally, data-driven farming. By connecting advanced, on-the-ground farming technologies to the IoT, farmers can produce massive quantities of analyzable data.

And that data becomes practice, because not only can the new smart farm technologies produce data on the performance of the farm, they can translate that data into actionable strategies for improvement.

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) on the smart farm, for example, can take some of the decision-making responsibility off the shoulders of the farmer.

AI can monitor specific conditions (of the soil, the stock, the climate, etc.) and respond appropriately, such as through the automated application of a pesticide when the first signs of infestation are detected.

Smart farm technologies are among the most powerful analytical tools currently in existence. They have the capacity both to generate massive quantities of data and then to assess that data nearly instantaneously, comparing it against the infinite and growing database that is the internet.

What “Data-Driven” Practice Actually Means

Basically, smart farming technologies provide data that enable farmers to make the best evidence-based decisions for their operation, implementing the proven practices their farm needs.

With smart farming, farmers enjoy the best of both worlds: the ability to assess and define the unique needs of their specific organization while also harnessing best practices data from around the world.

The end result is a farming practice that is at once specific and customized, as well as evidence-driven and generalizable.

These technologies allow farmers to understand their land, their crops, and their practices and unleash the power of Big Data to help them make the decisions that will yield results unimaginable without the aid of these technologies.

The Takeaway

Smart farming is the future. Only through the incredible power of the IoT and evidence-based practice can US agriculture and its related industries hope to keep abreast of surging global demand.

Please visit our website to learn more about smart farming!

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