Improving farmers’ lives and making farming practices more tech efficient has been the underlying mission of every agtech provider in the market, even those who were unsuccessful
Improving farmers’ lives and making farming practices more tech efficient has been the underlying mission of every agtech provider in the market, even those who were unsuccessful. Farmers know this and have been trying to improve their operations and systems by testing new tech and inventions for centuries.
While some agtech providers have been highly effective, what’s been missing for many of them has been the level of participation needed between farmers, land managers, scientists, and other stakeholders to share knowledge, ideas, and practices in a way that’s valuable and sustainable for all the players in the mix.
What does participation mean for farming communities? Participation is vital for any community to thrive, and this is especially true for farming communities. The more people participate positively in the community, the more vibrant and valuable it becomes. The relational bonds between farmers in their communities are formed by:
And this is where we find the contextual difference between farmers and new tech providers. The problem of participation in farming communities by agtech providers is not trivial. It’s got nothing to do with whether tech providers care enough to provide proper support—they care a great deal, or they wouldn’t be trying to make their offering.
In the start-up world of technology, anyone with a good idea is taught to start small. The underlying new technology principle is “what’s the least amount of work I need to do and money I need to spend to prove my hypothesis and create a business plan?” This principle is a sound practice in new business experimentation because it means less money wasted if the technology created doesn’t solve farmers’ problems.
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For a great example of agtech, you can’t go past RB Smith’s revolutionary invention, the stump-jump plough. I say “revolutionary” because
A $50 million Federal Government grant through the Commonwealth Cooperative Research Centres Program, together with $106.5 million from 85 partners