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How Technology Is Improving Agriculture Around the World

Photo: Courtesy of Leon Ephraïm

Technology is now at the heart of agriculture, informing decisions and improving practices that directly impact our food supply. We spoke with Julie Bushell, president of Paige Wireless, about what how technology and the internet of things (IoT) are changing the way farmers do their jobs

Julie Bushell

President, Paige Wireless

As the adoption of IoT solutions for agriculture is constantly growing, what steps can farmers take to ensure these new devices and data are secure?

To ensure device security, farmers should research protocol for the connectivity and devices they’re using. A good solution provider follows standards of protocol for device design, provisioning, and deployment. This enables transparency and allows farmers to choose the solution that best fits their security requirements. 

Most importantly, farmers should consider their contract regarding data privacy, and be aware of the possible selling and/or sharing of data they own. It’s a matter of national security and maintaining a secure food supply.

What do you believe is the biggest benefit IoT can have on the agriculture industry?

Informed decisions and increased control. 

Agriculture is often dictated by uncontrollable factors, like weather and commodity prices. These technologies enable farmers to optimize what they can control and enact informed change. 

Farmers can make real-time decisions that could mean the difference between abundant yield or lost crop, effectively identifying sick livestock, and increasing sustainable practices. These technologies place important data directly in the hands of farmers, allowing them to control outcomes as much as mother nature allows. 

What are some things to consider before adopting and developing a smart farming solution?

Before adopting a smart farming solution, it’s important to adequately test in real-life environments. Many companies unfamiliar with rural America incorrectly assume their solution will work right out of the lab. The IoT can improve efficiencies and sustainability in agriculture but we must do better at accurately testing first.

Additionally, farmers must exercise due diligence before signing data privacy and user agreements. This data is from generations of experience and knowledge, how it’s used should be solely the farmer’s decision.

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