By Lauren Manning
Robotics has been touted as a way to address some of the biggest issues in agriculture, namely when it comes to an ongoing labor shortage. Some 56%of farmers in California alone have been unable to find enough workers in the past five years, according to a new report from the California Farm Bureau Federation. The labor shortage is even more surprising in light of data showing that 90% of farmers have raised wages in recent years in an attempt to attract a more reliable and qualified workforce.
An increasing number of startups are innovating robotics-based solutions for nearly every segment of the food supply chain, from weed pulling robots out in the orchards to food safety-focused machines. The rapid development of robotic technologies across the food supply chain was noticeable in 2018, as investment into Farm Robotics & Equipment increased 56% year-over-year through 83 deals, according to AgFunder’s 2018 AgriFood Tech Investing Report.
But for Robert Saik, CEO of DOT Farm Solution Retail and a seasoned agtech entrepreneur, one of the things he keeps seeing is a lack of scale. That is until he saw what Norbert Beaujot, inventor of DOT had built. Norbert, a farmer, consummate inventor and owner of Seed Master named DOT, the full sized farming system after his mother because she was someone capable of managing many tasks on the farm. Today the DOT Technology Corp., the developer of the DOT IP is being led by CEO, Leah Olsen while Saik heads the commercialization side.
Hear more from Saik in a Q&A interview with Ag Funder News on the commercialization potential of robotics in ag, and the challenges of bringing these products to market.