Transitioning to agtech on the farm continues to be a significant change. Farmers are now expected to do more – they must know the best ways to manage erosion, be a truck driver, manage the books, and add on IT. Each of these jobs alone could be a full-time job, but as times evolve, the need for technology becomes critical for any operation. Here are five practical considerations when looking to implement agtech on your farm:

1. Pay for the technology or service

There are many free agtech opportunities but spending money on a service or technology can completely alter a farmer’s potential. By investing in an agtech company whose goal is to assist farmers in running their operation more efficiently and progressively than before, making an investment is the way to go.  By paying for the service, this can change the relationship and service model expectations and allow a farmer to grow more than they ever thought possible while continuing to focus on the end product.

2. Set Aside Time to Evaluate the Tech

Time is critical as technology continues to evolve. Spending specific time to evaluate current and potential agtech companies is imperative in determining the best investment for you. This time investment can be the difference in the yearend return.  These decisions must be made by key decision makers in the operation and then executed and utilized.

3. Expect a Learning Curve

With any new tech, there will be setbacks and as a farmer, it’s your job to provide suggestions on improvements. Agtech companies have a desire to know what farmers want, and providing feedback is vital to advancing technology. It won’t be a quick understanding for any farmer but taking the time is going to be the biggest asset to learning. Learning is not an overnight venture. It will take time.

4. Implement the Tech on a Meaningful Portion of Your Business

Actually take the technology and utilize it. Just “dabbling” with new tech is a recipe for wasted time, energy, and dollars for a farmer. By taking the technology to the farm, it presents a need for farmers and outlines why it is so important. Take it to a piece of your business it could benefit, not just one it could easily fit. Farmers need to know if it works in significant ways, not just fitting in.

5. Stay Committed

It is going to take time for agtech to show its worth. Take a critical look at your year one experience but hang in there for at least three years to make the investment of time worthwhile. Returns build over time as both you, the product, and your relationship improve. Maintain the energy to work with a company and provide input each year. Farms are not built in a day, and neither is implementing agtech.

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About the Author: Jill Parrent

Jill Parrent is the Communications Coordinator for the Illinois Soybean Association. Parrent is a graduate from Iowa State University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Agricultural Communications with minors in Food and Society and Leadership Studies. Parrent has been heavily involved with professional organizations throughout her collegiate career including serving as Chair of the College of Agricultural and Life Science Ambassadors at Iowa State University, Sigma Alpha Professional Sorority, and the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. She has dedicated much of her time to the 4-H program serving on the local, state, and national levels providing guidance and knowledge to youth. She is originally from central Illinois and currently resides in Normal.