When your daily business puts you in the middle of industry-changing technological advancements such as those that are embodied by the term “precision farming,” it’s easy to start believing that everyone knows about it outside of your circle of friends, customers and colleagues.
My inboxes — the wire basket sitting on an actual desktop as well as the virtual one — overflow with press releases and other farm magazines covering the latest products and applications for this new way of farming.
I’ve heard several people predict that one day in the not-too-distant future “precision farming” will become “farming” in much the same way your traditional row-crop farmer never has to clarify that he or she means “mechanical farming” when talking about his job to the layperson.
World Ag Expo, which recently concluded in Tulare, Calif., does a great job of reaching out to the media. Everyday, there were TV and radio station trucks on the grounds and the pressroom was a central meeting point for veteran ag journalists as well as “green” reporters from local newspapers. The reporters weren’t all at the show to report on the arrival of presidential hopefuls, either. Many were doing stories on the crowds, new equipment and the healthy condition of the farm industry.
During the show, a marketing representative for a major precision farming technology provider told me about a conversation she had with a general reporter. She was excited about the coverage her company was about to receive on a major news network.
The reporter had found her working the booth and asked to do a piece on precision farming.
The marketing representative replied, “What would you like to focus on? There’s telematics, auto-steering, variable rate seeding, applications for water and fertilizer management…”
Given those options, the reporter asked, “Well, what is ‘precision farming?’”
It’s not the reporter’s fault. He gets credit for asking the question and presenting the technology to the general public. But clearly, there’s work to be done by manufacturers, dealers and farmers outside of the ag community. Farming has made tremendous advancements when it comes to electronics. It’s time the general public — as well as your sales personnel and farmers — were brought up to speed.