[This post is sponsored by AGCO; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.]
I’ll be the first to admit that, while it was happening, I didn’t fully appreciate growing up on a farm. I saw my friends enjoying summer going to camp, spending hours at the beach, and sleeping in. For us, summer meant work. Our family didn’t hire outside help, so it was just the 5 of us – my parents, myself, and my two brothers – and my grandparents. We did everything from planting in the early spring to cleaning up the fields at the end of the year.
But as I got older, my perspective started to shift and I recognized how fortunate I was to be a farm kid.
Among other things, the farm allowed me to fully understand the amount of work it takes to get food onto grocery store shelves. Because of that work, I know that farmers take great pride in the crops they produce. When I started buying groceries myself, it broke my heart to find out that not everyone trusts farmers and our food system. That’s why, despite practicing law full-time, I decided to start “ag-vocating” and sharing our story.
Surprisingly, I’ve learned so much about agriculture that has deepened my passion.
The technology we use in farming today rivals any smart phone in our pockets. AGCO is a great example because it focuses on technology to boost production and productivity. Precision Ag is one of the coolest things farmers have available. It allows us to closely monitor our fields using satellite and GPS technologies. While planting and harvesting, we can get real time data back right to the tractor or combine. We are better able to measure differences within each field so we can maximize yields.
Going a step further, many farms have started to integrate drones into their operations. By flying over fields and taking high-tech images, farmers can find out a ton of information about their fields, including soil compaction, pests, and plant populations. The information allows farmers to precisely address any problems and protect their crops.
AGCO’s line of farm machinery, including GSI, Massey Ferguson, and Sunflower, is also deliver high-tech solutions: tractors that can drive themselves across fields, planters that can monitor each seed being put into the ground, and equipment with guidance systems. The use of technology aids farmers in meeting growing food demands across the world. As the Earth’s population grows, the amount of food we produce also needs to grow. Technology is allowing us to meet those needs and ensure global food security.
We are also discovering cool new uses for things that we have previously just left in the field. Take biomass as an example. When we harvest corn, our combines are able to separate out the kernels from the rest of the plant. The kernels are kept in a storage place on the combine while the remaining plant gets thrown back into the field. AGCO has worked closely with other industry leaders to find new uses for this plant waste, including making clothes with it! These innovations help reduce waste on the farm!
All of it contributes to the legacy we are building as a family. My paternal great-grandparents and grandparents purchased our farm in the 1950’s. From there, it has grown from a small fruit farm to over 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans. My brothers and I are now the fourth generation involved with the operation. Even though I have a full-time job practicing law, I am continually drawn back to help in a variety of ways. I love learning about the latest technology being implemented on the farm!
As agriculture continues to evolve, I feel so fortunate to have a front seat!
Philip McArdle says
Thank you Amanda!!!
Douglas Irvin says
After the internal combustion engine it was Harry Ferguson’s hydraulics that was the second revolution in agriculture. This revolution is the application of a broad range of electronics.
Phil Eklund says
Amanda, what technology is available for crop choices?
Can you be more specific about what you mean? We obviously have genetically engineered crops, and there are better hybrids and varieties for us to choose from.
Phil Eklund says
Hello, I only meant to choose whether to plant corn versus beans, for instance. (Obviously genetically engineered crops are a factor in your choice. I understand from your other posts that bio-engeering allows you to reduce costs with less pesticides, and obviously cost/return is the major factor in your choice.) I only wanted to know what tools you use to decide what basic foodstuff to plant?
Gotcha. Right now we’re set up to do corn and soybeans. I guess a lot goes into that decision. We have the equipment, grain contracts, base of knowledge, regional considerations (ie. weather, soil type), etc.
Dennis Laughton says
It wasn’t just Harry Ferguson’s use of hydraulics, it was that in combination with the 3 point hitch, which used the resistance of the implement in the soil to transfer that weight to the rear wheels for improved traction. This allowed a much lighter tractor to do heavy work.