Automation is a topic that has been talked about more and more in recent years. Its main benefits include higher productivity, lower labor costs and greater control over ones farm. Recently, controlled environments called “Vertical Farms” are said to benefit the most out of this process of automation through technology. Vertical farms are defined as indoor farms designed to maximize the amount of crops that can be grown inside a controlled environment while taking up as little space as possible. Farms like these are said to be the farms of the future because of the role intelligent systems such as AI and robots have in these environments. Plants are grown in stacks to conserve space, running a facility like this however does not come at a small cost.
In the article “80 Acres Farms Raises $40m to Complete ‘First Fully Automated Vertical Farm’” , Louisa Burwood-Taylor discusses some aspects of running a Vertical Farm. A fully automated farm is favored because farmers struggle with what Louisa says are “…high costs associated with operating and powering their controlled environments, particularly when it comes to staffing and LED lighting.“. Running a facility like this that relies on automation would save hundreds by cutting down the need for human supervision. It is said that automated farms are essential to providing consumers with more affordable foods in the future.
People often times ask what trends we should expect in the decade of 2020. Where is agriculture headed? How is technology helping farms keep up with the changing times? Will drones and robots be commonplace in farms? Corbett Kull discusses in his article “Agtech will take off in 2020: 5 trends to watch” what trends the agriculture and farming community should watch out for in the coming years. Some of the more important trends discussed include: Farming as a Service, The Rise of Data Transparency and Analytics, The Growing Popularity of Digital Leasing. According to this, digital leasing is growing because of farmers living remotely away from their farms in addition to the rise of the digital era. Farmland rental agreements can be made available in the digital space just like any other binding document. This brings transparency and analytics into the mix as lessees and farmers are now requesting data in their contracts. This is due to the rise of technology present in farms making it easier to capture data and monitor such things. Lastly, Farming as a Service is a trend Kull says applies to farm owners that “…need someone to perform specific services for you and manage the equipment“. He goes on to say that it can be compared to a subscription service with the potential of growth through the next few years. The new decade sees connected technology continuing to co-exist and evolve in the industry of the agriculture.
This article contains a summary of:
“80 Acres Farms Raises $40m to Complete ‘First Fully Automated Vertical Farm’” by Louisa Burwood-Taylor
“Agtech will take off in 2020: 5 trends to watch” by Corbett Kull