Updated: Sep 18, 2019
As one of the world’s oldest industries, agriculture is the backbone of our global economy and has gone through countless changes over the millennia. Bold ideas have always reshaped the way we think about farming – and now, this fourth great revolution, also known as Farmer 4.0 (based off the recent report from RBC), ushers in a new era of technological advancement and innovation.
Canadian farmers are steadily changing the ways they approach traditional tasks, with smart machines and software doing the ‘heavy lifting’ so farmers can focus on production. Unfortunately, we’re still playing a bit of catch-up with the rest of the world, as other countries continue to innovate and stride forward at a much faster pace. To stay competitive, we need to embrace new developments – and at the forefront of these developments is agricultural data and smart farming.
Are you prepared to join the revolution?
What Are the Challenges Today?
Canada’s agriculture continues to navigate an ever-dwindling supply of workers, with a projected pitfall of 123,000 farmers by the year 2030. This worker shortage reflects the current demographic of Canadian farmers: while a quarter of farmers are expected to be 65 or older by 2025, there is also a sharp decrease in the number of young people entering the field. This means that we’re missing out on many of those fresh faces and new ideas.
Additionally, we could be doing much more to embrace automated technologies across the country. In 2018, our investment in worldwide ag-tech was just 3.4%, even though 95% of large producers said they used advanced technologies on their farms.
How Can We Revitalise Our Agriculture Sector?
Don’t worry – it’s not all doom and gloom. RBC’s report highlights that more smart tech in agriculture is unlikely to impact employment rates in the near future. Instead, it’s more likely to ‘shift’ the types of skills needed by farmers and other agricultural workers. These skills are things like robotics, global sales and data analysis – and without them, we will struggle to keep up with global agriculture.
The report lists several key roles that will soon change with ag-tech developments, including
· Farm equipment servicers: these skilled workers need to increase their technology focus to manage robots and other smart machines, as well as writing code and taking advantage of software innovations.
· Farm owners and operators: these individuals will need to engage their critical thinking and digital expertise to maintain more expansive and technical productions.
· Lastly, CA agriculture will require more specialist workers who function specifically in fields such as blockchain, genetics and AI. These roles are set to increase by at least 18,000 in coming years.
While Australia and the Netherlands are leading the way when it comes to these innovative approaches, here in Canada we still need to push for a bigger data focus. With initiatives that target younger workers and lawmakers providing new protections to ease any concerns, we should soon see a number of changes. Of course, with each new development comes a new challenge of its own.
Managing New Obstacles
As robots and machines quickly become the lifeline of Canadian farms, and with automated technologies set to help us thrive, farmers will still need a new risk mitigation strategy to ensure everything runs smoothly. With Rakr’s NeatMeter, you can manage the energy use of your smart devices, saving money and boosting efficiency all around. Find out more here.
As we continue to strive forward in agri-tech and Canadian farming, we will keep searching for diverse and effective solutions to common problems. By utilising these data-oriented skills in the near future, agriculture has been projected to add another $11 billion to the country’s GDP. What’s not to love?