Farmers have a major role to play in humanity’s future, there is no doubt. As the world around us shifts, farmers will feel increasing pressure, while also finding new opportunities to do things differently. In Indiana, the agriculture industry is working feverishly to bring real-world innovation forward through artificial intelligence, high-resolution aerial imagery, modern weather technologies and machine learning, as well as other relevant technologies found throughout our fellow life science industries.
From the standard of new thinking set forth by Purdue University to the established corporations and brand-new startups, Indiana is a hotspot for agriculture innovation and entrepreneurship. In fact, agriculture already contributes $31.2 billion to the Indiana economy, but we believe there is more to be done.
My company, IntelinAir, is in the process of relocating our headquarters to Indianapolis. We see an opportunity in helping Indiana cement its legacy as a leader in science-driven transformation. Our team identified a number of openings in the agricultural industry to address challenges near- and long-term in the production of our food, fuel and fiber. We know farmers have been quick to adopt technology with nearly 70% of them using yield monitors. But, there is other untapped potential for farmers using science and technology.
- Climate – Major weather events have left significant challenges for farmers, as they have others throughout the country. Through our ability to provide continuous monitoring and farm intelligence, farmers can better anticipate changes in weather, manage against impacts found in varying areas of their fields and understand moisture variability throughout their farm.
- Productivity – Real-time monitoring and alerts give farmers peace of mind when it comes to managing pressures. Today, we have the ability to detect, verify, report and help manage pressures from weeds, insects and disease and provide actionable alerts for farmers to address these threats to their yields in a targeted manner thereby helping farmers save time and money through yield and productivity enhancements.
- Water/Soil – Two of the most critical assets to production agriculture remain water and soil. Our Smart Alerts keep farmers remain in the know related to the water available in their fields and the soil conditions. They can manage their fields in a more precise way, allowing for adjustments to nutrients and crop protection plans as the season progresses.
If you think about it, all work in life sciences points back to health. Agriculture is no different: helping to keep our people and planet in good health. We live in an ecosystem that continues to evolve and with it comes the need for defining what’s next.
In my experience, technology plays an increasingly important role in finding those next advances. As the world population grows, consumer preferences shift and our farmers are asked to do more on even less acres, we should take every opportunity to make sustainability a reality from an environmental, economic and social standpoint.
Farmers have done a great job in navigating challenges through technology adoption in the past, and I have no doubt they will do so over and over again in the future. Greater access to timely and actionable information puts them in a better position for the long run.
Al Eisaian is co-founder and CEO of IntelinAir, Inc., an aerial imagery analytics company, as well as a multiple-exit serial entrepreneur; passionate technologist & technology investor; frequent speaker; avid reader & futurist; and a committed servant-leader.