In the agricultural industry, AgTech is most often associated with large, industrial farms. But new technology in the world of agriculture is transforming small and mid-sized farms as well, and the impact is worth noting.
While small farms might not need weeding robots or drone sprayers, there are all sorts of agricultural technologies that are making small and mid-sized farms more productive and efficient. Agricultural technology is especially important for small and mid-sized farms because it enables farmers to save time and money and improve yields, all without making substantial financial investments.
Increase Market Viability
In 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced awards for research projects dedicated to exploring new technologies to increase viability for small and medium-sized farming operations. Some of the projects focused on market competition and issues surrounding market access, with others focused on improving operation technologies, such as data analytics for individual crops.
The investment by the USDA to research how technology can make small farms more innovative demonstrates the importance of small farms and technology in their evolution.
Farmers across the country, especially small family farms, are always looking for the next way to innovate their farming operations, sometimes making changes each growing season. No-till growing, integrated pest management and advancements in agricultural technology are just a few of the ways in which farmers are working higher yields and lower input costs.
You can also have a look at: Tips for efficient irrigation systems on your farm
Utilize Sustainable Techniques
In the United States, the current average farm size is 440 acres, a number that has risen steadily in the last few decades as large agricultural enterprises have consolidated business under one roof. However, a new generation of farmers, most under the age of 35, are entering the agricultural sphere with a brand-new outlook on farming.
For the most part, small and mid-sized farms in the United States are engaging in alternative methods, incorporating organic and sustainable practices to cultivate crops without synthetic chemicals or animal byproducts. Many of these farmers are utilizing a combination of old and new techniques, some relying on human labor rather than mechanization, while simultaneously being skilled at social media and web design.
This generations plays a key role in the next agricultural revolution, working with new agricultural technology while also advocating for more sustainable growing methods.
A big impact for small farms
For small and mid-sized farms, defined as farms under 1,000 acres, agricultural technology is more relevant than previously thought. While AgTech was once considered essential only for large and industrial farming operations, there are proven benefits of AgTech for farms of all sizes.
Agricultural technology has the ability to help analyze product yields to prevent crop loss, monitor irrigation to save water and integrate various operational platforms so farmers can spend less time looking at data. Agricultural technology is important for small and mid-sized farms because smaller farming operations require the most efficiency to meet demand and stay competitive and financially secure.