What is Agritech and Why Should You Care?

By Miriam Schaffer

What is Agritech and Why Should You Care?

What is Agritech and Why Should You Care?

“Agritech” is the fusion of Agriculture and Technology. More specifically, it is the use of technology in agriculture to maximize yields and efficiency. In order to achieve these aims, agritech uses technologies that include comprehensive data collection, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

 

Why should you care?

 

  1. Potential for the future of agriculture

 

The average age of the American farmer is 58 and has been above 50 since 1974*. Meanwhile investment in Agritech has grown more than 40 percent in 2018 alone**. Our approach to the problem of an aging farming population has been in reshifting how we think about agriculture. Technology is and will continue to affect how we grow food as a younger and more educated population is taking interest in the merging of farming and technology. 

 

  1. Grants and funding are increasing

 

As growth in Agritech continues to soar, so are financing options. From private companies to government agencies there are an ever increasing number of funding opportunities related to indoor and greenhouse operations. This includes funding for the integration of energy saving technologies (such as solar panels and windmills), and controllers that manage water systems and plant health. With more financing opportunities popping up it is becoming easier to initiate new agricultural related businesses.

 

  1. Reduction in food miles

 

Agritech allows for the growing of food to take place closer to urban areas (where the majority of people now reside). Thanks to new technologies, food can now be grown on top of buildings and in a variety of climates rather than far away in giant fields. Movements to urban farming allow for less trucking and storage. Fresher food is also tastier and healthier.

 

  1. Healthier food

 

Technologies to mitigate the need for fertilizers, to properly assess the nutrient profile of the soil, and proper water management are all not only better for us as consumers as food, but also for the health of the planet. Proper use of agricultural technology can help us understand and therefore promote healthier food, soil, and environment. 

 

  1. Efficiency in growing

 

The advancement of technological systems will create more efficiencies in growing and energy consumption. 

 

Agritech really begins with the grow system itself. A well designed grow environment is the base for an energy efficient system. Couple that with the proper use of good agricultural technologies and you can expect high volume production. 

 

It is important to remember that “Agritech” begins with “Agri”. Traditional agriculture is rooted in a philosophy based in outside growing under the sun. A greenhouse epitomizes agritech, employing the efficiencies of traditional agriculture (light harvesting from the sun) with the advancements in technology. When we combine agriculture with technology-based systems such as sensors with controls and efficient irrigation management systems, we create super efficient grow environments that benefit both us and the planet. 

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkobayashisolomon/2018/10/31/agtech-a-great-investment-for-the-future/#7849554c1a09

https://www.ft.com/content/3c4e9aa2-4044-11e9-b896-fe36ec32aece

https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/farm-economy/beginning-disadvantaged-farmers/beginning-farmers-and-age-distribution-of-farmers/

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