Strategic planning. Risk management. Yield prediction. Food safety. Equipment management. What do all of these have in common? They will be vital in the success of the future’s farmers. They can also all be improved by smart technology use.
Major disrupters will continue to transform agriculture, which is why farmers must think like futurists, says Nikolas Badminton, an award-winning futurist and researcher who specializes in artificial intelligence, big data, privacy, transportation, renewable energy and agriculture.
“Once you know what is coming on the horizon, you can start making really good decisions today,” Badminton shared at Bayer’s AgVocacy Forum, which is taking place this week in Orlando, ahead of the 2019 Commodity Classic.
Once farmers collect data, they can analyze it to e information, which then grows into knowledge and wisdom, Badminton says. That process improves real-world decision making for farmers.
How can you adopt this futurist mindset? Start by asking yourself some big questions, Badminton says. What do you do and how do you do it? Will your business be relevant in three, five or 20 years?
“You need to do research to understand what is coming,” he says. “So if you're a pig farmer, you might want to look at trends in growing organs in pigs for human implantation. You might also want to look at the ability to grow cultured meat in a laboratory that replaces the need to raise pigs.”
Analyze your business by doing some good old SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis, Badminton suggests. Then identify where you need to bridge the gaps.
Farmers of the future, or Farmers 3.0, need to illustrate a few key traits. Badminton says those are:
- a curiosity and a thirst to experiment
- extreme data literacy
- dedication to data analysis
“Technology gives you the ability to, to really make better strategic decisions,” Badminton says. “Better strategic decisions mean more efficient operations.”
Even in today’s tight profit picture, Badminton suggests farmers carefully weigh the return on investment for new technology. Not doing so can be fatal for a business.
“If you stop investing, you stop growing, that means both growing crops and growing as a business,” he says.
Bayer’s AgVocacy Forum spans Feb. 26-27. You can watch a live video stream from the event in the AgVocate Facebook group, and follow along with the social media discussion by searching for #AgVocate on Twitter and Instagram.