10 Things AgTech…A Response

So…I came across this article yesterday and kind of loved it so much I felt I had to weigh in with my opinion no one gives a shit about. However, as someone in tech for over 20 years, and developing in AgTech over 5 years, and as someone who’s been saying the same damn thing for 6 years…I wanted to stand on my soapbox for a moment.

  1. Why oh why can’t we get past this whole illusion that Big Data is going to save us all?
    Mostly because the whole world has bought into this outside of Ag. As someone who was a senior engineer for, let’s just say a well-known tech company in the past, the amount of “big data” in Ag is the equivalent of a dime on a football field. It’s one industry, (albeit very important), but data has not been captured since recently compared to other industries. You want to see big data…Verizon, AT&T, Comcast…that’s big data.
  2. Stop trying to make algorithms that try to replace people or processes.
    Agreed, but this one hits close to home for me. Replace people…no. Assist them, absolutely. I've talked to world-renowned pathologists and entomologists who’s plates are full; massive workloads they can’t keep up with because they’re so sought after. The fact is, they’re not going to live forever. And as one of them, Dr. Susanne Wainright-Evans expressed to me, “It’s just not popular to be a bug lady these days”…tells me we need to leverage artificial intelligence to help here and preserve what these people know today, for tomorrow. The caveat is, it needs to be done RIGHT…which is where FARMWAVE comes in…(shameless plug).
  3. Can we please just stop making ridiculously expensive in-cab controllers?
    Amen. Hallelujah. Amen. Visit any modern-day manufacturing plant and see touch-screen HUD’s in action.
  4. Please, for the love of god, can people stop creating news articles about drones and robotics changing the world for agriculture?
    I think drones came out in the consumer market and everyone who loved remote control cars and planes as a child thought, “I can be a kid again and make money doing it!!!”….and we’ve seen little, (not none…but little), value come from this.
  5. Let’s figure this whole “who owns the data” stuff out.
    This is more than a “legally who owns it” scenario. If you see value in getting info, you need to give some. If you don’t like to share in the sandbox, then don’t and no one will share with you. If you’re sharing, selling, using someone’s data without them knowing it…you’re stealing and you should be tased in public till you forcibly soil yourself and are shamed.
  6. As an industry, we need to be a lot more careful about giving away things for free.
    Nothing is for free in the end.
  7. I’ll say it, crop insurance and the USDA need to give incentives to use precision ag tools and data with discounts on insurance or by some other means like that.
    See number 5.
  8. Let us end this whole debate on what resolution and imagery type system is better than the next.
    For the love of Pete, Mary, and Joseph I couldn’t agree more.
  9. This industry, and in particular the few groups who control the narrative, need to actually just agree and make one darn file type used to transfer and create data.
    Ag is far from alone in this. It took forever for things like PDF. Shit, we still have MSFT, Google, and then hanging out in the wind is Apple’s formats like Pages, Keynote, and whatever else no one uses.
  10. Finally, stop saying that your tech or product or service or whatever was created to help feed the world by 2050. Don’t use the line that everyone says, “We are going to have 9.5 billion by 2050 and need to grow double what we do today” or whatever the stupid saying is.
    Agreed. There’s plenty of land and resources now. THIS is about politics. This is being said by those that have not gone to visit places like Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi, Tanzania, Zambia, Nigeria,etc.