Farming is big business, and this is definitely not an overstatement. The agriculture, food, and related industries made up about one trillion dollars of the United States’ total gross domestic product in 2019. And as with any other industry, farming and agriculture is one industry that has its own trends happening.
Precision Farming Technology
Perhaps one of the most interesting and important development trends in the farming world is the creation and adoption of precision farming technologies. In short, this phrase encompasses a whole host of various forms of tech that farmers use to improve their farming practices.
For instance, using this type of technology allows farmers to more precisely apply fertilizers and nutrients to their crops. This may not sound like such a big deal, but farmers can essentially calculate the precise amount of fertilizer that’s needed for each and every plant. It cuts way back on waste, which ends up being good for everyone: the farmer, who saves money; the crops, which are evenly fertilized; and the environment, with much less runoff into lakes and streams.
Collecting and Leveraging Data
Something that goes along with precision farming tech is the collection of immense amounts of data. Farmers can collect and view satellite maps of their fields that also might include information on crop health and what the soils are like in a particular field. They can then use this information to improve their farming practices, targeting certain fields for improvements as needed, without wasting time or money on a one-size-fits-all approach to cultivating their fields and crops.
Where Does Our Food Come From?
In recent years, interest has really increased in knowing where the foods we eat come from. Changes have been made to the products we can buy at the grocery store, including some labels that tell you right where your milk was produced.
This interest in knowing where food comes from could be linked to more people taking an interest in the environment these days, which means researching more about food and its carbon footprint. It could also correlate with food supply chain issues, which can cause food spoilage or less than ideal shipping conditions.
Living in Minnesota for instance means that fresh produce isn’t exactly abundant year-round. Our harsh winters basically put a stop to that, unless you have the funds and the space for some sort of indoor greenhouse. This necessitates that fruits and vegetables be transported in, often from far away states like California or even from other countries like Mexico.
Those long distances aren’t always great for fresh produce. Supply chain issues can certainly happen along the way, such as ineffective temperature controls in a semi-load of produce that increases spoilage.
Blockchain and Farming
With the interest in more precise farming methods, collecting data, and keeping an eye on improving food chain supply, blockchain technology may be able to play a role in these farming trends.
Since blockchain is essentially a secure database of electronic records, it can assist with the data storage that goes along with precision farming technology usage and GPS field maps. Furthermore, blockchain is already being used to help track food distributions.
This blockchain usage makes a lot of sense: Food suppliers using blockchain can keep records of the distribution and storage conditions along the way, as that product makes its way from Mexico to Minnesota. More than just a point of interest or knowing where your avocado came from, it can help identify any poor conditions that may have occurred along the way.
As an added benefit, this use of blockchain in agriculture means that illness outbreaks related to foods can be tracked sooner. This is great news, as recalls would be faster and help prevent more people from falling ill with a foodborne sickness.
Blockchain and Farming Futures
Blockchain and farming may seem totally unrelated at first glance, but the increasing use of technology in the agricultural world lends itself well to blockchain’s many uses. Time will tell how well these two worlds mesh together, and we think it’s worth keeping an eye on.