Adding a new coat of paint won’t prevent a dilapidated house from falling down. Implementing new precision ag technology will not prevent an already struggling farm from going under. Ag tech provides growers with new tools in order to become more efficient, optimizing the current processes in place. Good managerial skills, crop knowledge, financial know-how, and the right people on your team are all important components of a healthy operation that must be in place to build a solid foundation. A solid foundation is required to know which precision ag systems to purchase, how to best implement the new technology, and ensure that the results, or in many cases the data, are producing the desired outcome and making the farm more efficient and profitable.
At 2nd Sight, we’ve worked with 15-acre farms to 2,000-acre farms. The smoothest implementations are with farms that have a collaborative team, standard operating procedures already in place (and the employees are aware of these processes), management staff that can identify where the inefficiencies exist in the operation and understand that some processes might have to change, as well as have a clear goal for what our electronic labor tracking software or ag automation equipment will achieve. We’ve had customers who acknowledge that new tech is necessary to stay competitive but skipped a few steps. They bought the digital hourly and piecework tracking software before they bought a computer or installed a reliable internet network.
Over the last decade in the United States, the average farm size has grown, and the number of farms has decreased. The idea of an “economy of scale” can still hold true since a larger operation will typically have more capital to purchase state-of-the-art precision ag software, technology, and automation. However, the operation still must know how to maximize their financial resources. Good farm management still lies at the base of successful implementation of technology and is not always correlated to the total number of acres farmed. Therefore, our employee tracking software can make sense for both large and small farms.
There are a lot of exciting things happening in the specialty crop industry right now. However, my advice is to look inwards before looking outwards. Define clear goals (we’ve all heard of SMART goals, here’s a great video if you haven’t). Then, find the new tech tools that will help your farm reach those goals.