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2023 Farm Progress Show reveals 3 key agribusiness challenges

Tractor in crop field

The 2023 Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois showcased some of the most exciting agri-tech around and shed a light on the biggest challenges farmers and leaders face today. Our Kin + Carta team got to hear from industry experts, forge new connections, and catch up with clients. Morgan Sweet, Senior User Experience Principal, shared her experience:

“Getting to see firsthand the impact we are making and how we are shaping the ag industry was truly inspiring. It was really insightful to talk to both existing and potential users to gather feedback on the digital experiences we are building. The connections made, and honest conversations we had, helped us to identify ways we need to iterate and enhance our tools.”

The event featured many exciting demos, and it was inspiring to talk to so many leaders with big tech ambitions. However, despite enthusiasm for digital transformation across the industry, it’s not always easy to turn ideas into tangible action. Agriculture leaders face complex challenges.

Here are three of the biggest obstacles discussed during the 2023 Farm Progress Show alongside insights from our expert team on overcoming them:

Challenge 1: Access to technology

Not all farmers have access to high-speed internet or reliable mobile networks, especially in rural and remote areas.
We must consider users’ experiences related to their needs working outside in combination with network reliability. It is critical to user success to have reliable access to the platform's content, even when they are offline. Also, while working outdoors and inside moving equipment, user interface choices need to be carefully evaluated. High text contrast with large buttons and actions are key for maximum usability.”
Morgan Sweet, Kin + Carta Senior User Experience Principal

Challenge 2: Cost of technology

The cost of acquiring and rolling out solutions like precision agriculture tools, drones, and GPS systems can be a barrier for many small-scale farmers, with high initial investments and ongoing maintenance expenses straining budgets. Smaller farms often don’t have the scale to justify the cost of precision agri-tech.
Retrofitting tech can be a more economical option. For example, older sprayers can be retrofitted to add computer vision. We also saw examples at the event of after-market, self-driving equipment that could be attached to existing farm equipment like tractors.”
Stephen Tubbs, Kin + Carta Director Client Lead

Challenge 3: Data interoperability

Farmers know that their data is valuable and are unwilling to give it up—making it hard to prototype new business models based on data sharing. Many agribusinesses simply see more value in keeping their data in-house than in sharing it with other companies. What’s more, farmers often struggle with organizing and interpreting data from various sources, such as sensors, weather stations, and crop monitoring systems.
As a starting point, farmers need user-friendly data management tools and platforms. But to truly enable data interoperability at scale and across agribusiness we need data-sharing agreements. There also needs to be a meaningful incentive for growers who own the data to share information.”
Jared Johnson, Kin + Carta Director of Digital Strategy

Want to build smarter and grow faster? Discover how our agriculture experts help innovative agribusinesses to yield tangible value.

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Shaping the future of farming

As Andrea Miller, Senior Director Agriculture Portfolio Lead, commented during the event, “Farmers are always on the lookout for the right farming practices to keep their farms sustained in business for years to come.” And right now, options for tech innovation and investment are growing faster than ever before. This is exciting but it can also be overwhelming. It’s tough to know where to get the best return on investment—especially on a limited budget.

The current agricultural technology boom has to bring everyone along for the ride. By exploring creative ways to overcome challenges and developing flexible, customizable, and scalable tech solutions, consultants and solutions providers can ensure that everyone benefits.

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