Samuelson Sez - It’s a Flood - 22 January 2017

This week I am talking about a flood on Samuelson Sez; no, not the flood in California and some other states at the moment. I am talking about a flood of technology, particularly in the agricultural industry.

With some exceptions, we have been slower in the farm community to adapt much of the technology that is now available, thanks to the internet and its hundreds of websites that bring information into our home computers every day. Some of that slowness is probably because of the age of farm owners and active farmers who decide to leave technology to younger farmers.

But this past week I spent two days at meetings, one in Des Moines, the other in Champaign, conducted by a company known as Farm Logs. They are not in the timber business as one farm landlord who had trees for sale called to inquire.

Farm Logs is a company started by a Michigan farm kid back in 2011 who was fascinated by all of the technology available to agriculture that wasn’t being used or applied by farmers and ranchers because it was too difficult. This is not the only company doing this today, but I was impressed by the 70 employees who are truly excited about what they are doing, wanting to hear from producers on what other information they can provide and how to make it more user-friendly.

As I listened to the speakers and talked to farmers, I had no idea how much information is out there floating around in cyber-space just waiting to be pulled down and put to work to provide, as the meeting theme stated, “New Products For A More Efficient And Profitable 2017.”

Here is a little of what I learned. With the use of satellites and sensors, this company has mapped 65-million acres of farms across the country and can provide operators with daily information on soil moisture, drought, weed & insect problems, nitrogen shortage in corn fields and drainage problems.

All of this comes to your computer screen and it is updated daily for the acres on your farm. Talk about change in agriculture, gone are the rain gauges stuck in the middle of a field, maybe even the annual crop tours across the Midwest late in the growing season to assess the condition and size of the crop.

It really is an exciting time in agriculture.

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