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Changes in Agriculture: 5 Things to Look Out for in 2018

The summer is nearly over and harvest is soon upon us if it’s not happened on your farm already. You know what this means. We are far past the half way mark in 2017 and it’s not long before everyone starts to look towards the new year. If you’re on top of things, you should already have a plan laid out for your farm management in 2018.

Here are 5 things that have really come into their own in 2017, and we look forward to watching them grow over the next year!

1 Technology

Okay, this one is kind of obvious. Tech is always moving forward at a fast rate, but this year has really been incredible.

If we can highlight just one that we discovered this year, it would have to be the container farms that offer a solution to farming around the world in a unique way. By using old shipping containers to grow crops, you create a small environment that you can manipulate with amazing precision. This means in the heart of the Sahara desert or far up in the arctic circle in Russia, farmers can grow soybeans, lettuce and many more crops!

Precision agriculture is continuing to benefit from the ever-changing technology. Places we never thought agriculture would reach are now benefiting from the technological advances being made worldwide. Have you benefited from technological changes this year? Let us know in the comments how you’re going to be using it even more efficiently next year!

With hurricane Irma currently battling down hard on the US and other disasters striking the world from famine to floods, hopefully this tech will bring us some new and innovate solutions in the new year to save lives and help agriculture recover.

2 AI

Artificial intelligence is no longer the topic of futuristic sci-fi movies starring Will Smith and other A-list celebrities. AI is very almost here and agriculture is lucky enough to be benefiting from the best of it. AI is coming to us in the form of tractors and other farm equipment.

We’ll admit, there are still plenty of faults in AI tech that need to be addressed before we see autonomous vehicles at work across the country… but still, it’s hard not to be excited when you see the AI tractor proudly on its stand at the Tech convention.

The biggest problem is getting the AI tractor to the field when it cuts across public roads and highways. In 2018, we hope to see governments, councils and farmers come together so rules can be established and all can benefit from this amazing tech. Just think, how much more productive could you be if you didn’t have to be driving the tractor yourself. You could be tucked up in bed, not having to wake up before dawn, or you could be tilling the next field over, doing double the amount of work in half the time. We’re only seeing the start of AI technology as it takes its first steps, who knows where it could take us.

3 Marketing

Marketing is important. It’s not just the business gurus and money makers that are saying this. Everyone from small business owners to eBay sellers are investing a little here and there. Agriculture is beginning to step up to the marketing platform too, and we hope to see it really rocket in 2018.

Marketing your produce and getting your name out there can open up endless possibilities, some that you couldn’t possibly imagine. Sometimes marketing doesn’t have to cost a penny extra. Just attending tech events, agricultural meetings and other community get-togethers you get your face out there and start to build relationships that can bring fortune to you and others in similar situations.

If you’d like to spend a bit more in the marketing department going into 2018, why not start with some simple brand awareness? Market all your crops with your family name or farms name on it. Create a brand. Organic restaurants and suppliers will buy into it more. Just having your name on the side of a tractor you rent out, or sponsoring an event in the local town can get your name out there to be seen by the masses.

4 Collaborations

Marketing leads us onto collaborations. Farmers are really starting to band together, whether it’s sharing the expensive new tech we’ve seen this year to get the most out of it, to hiring out land for camping and festivals. We’ve also seen an increased number of visits to our blog this year, not to mention comments on our articles!

It’s enlightening to see that so many farmers are taking to the internet to share problems and more importantly, find solutions.

By sharing your farm data for everything from soil temperature to yield volumes, we can all collaborate together to make smart decisions that benefit our farms. Just be careful not to share any personal details or details about your farm like where you store valuables and equipment.

5 Women

With each passing year it feels like we get one step closer to true equality. 2017 has been a great year for women, but we hope 2018 will be even better. When we have an equal and diverse agricultural workforce, we can boost our productivity. With new farmers and new workers, we will bring new ideas to the front line… old problems will be solved and a new era will develop.

According to the FOA “aggregate data shows that women comprise about 43 percent of the agricultural labour force globally and in developing countries.” This is a fantastic achievement but we still have a way to go. By 2045 we will need to feed 9 billion people, so we need more and more men and women to join the agricultural workforce so we can ensure there’s always enough sustainable food for everyone.

So, there you have it. 5 things to keep your eye on as we power ahead into 2018. From women taking on a larger role in agriculture, to AI tractors tilling the fields while we finally get a lay in, to online forums holding the answers to decade old farming problems. Perhaps these will have a direct impact on your farm, no one knows what the future has in store! Check back next week for more great tips and updates throughout 2017 and into 2018.

 

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