“Data is valuable but not by itself.
Sharing data effectively is how the true
value can be unlocked.”

Hollie Lemos, Marketing Director, Proagrica

Looking to the future of farming

What will farming look like in five years’ time? A decade? Beyond? The advent of big data and its role in farming has, until relatively recently, been an abstract reality that doesn’t necessarily affect daily life for the average farmer. That is set to change.

There is a clear trend: farmers are becoming more progressive in how they approach their work and are seeking out data-driven solutions in order to do so. How can they make better decisions about chemical use or maximise yields? How can they demonstrate to buyers that a crop has been grown according to certain standards?

Data connectivity and smart solutions will make answering those questions an effortless part of working life. Farmplan –  part of Proagrica, the global provider of digital connectivity solutions for the agriculture industry – are well-prepared to support their farmer customers, even as these demands and requirements grow in the fast-paced new era of agriculture.

Farmers already have a day job. The last thing they want is yet another task for their long to-do list. Fortunately, that won’t be the case. Farmplan are able to seamlessly integrate any changes into existing work practices. This doesn’t mean added work but a fantastic extra by-product of the work that farmers already do.

Hollie Lemos, Marketing Director, Proagrica

A smart supply network

Every farm generates huge amounts of data every day. More and more of those farms have realised that their data is valuable, but not by itself . As part of an ecosystem, it enables more efficient, productive and sustainable work on the farm. Sharing data effectively is how true value can be unlocked.

“Farms understandably want to protect their individual interests and have the final say over what they share,” says Hollie. “As an independent operator, we are able make sure it stays that way. How much you do or don’t share is up to the individual. Ultimately, connecting is what drives growth in ways that weren’t previously possible.”

As Hollie puts it, the idea of a “supply chain” is somewhat outdated, suggesting as it does a linear flow of data back and forth. Instead, the term “supply network” – in which data can flow every direction with complete transparency and individual control – is more apt.

For Farmplan, this means even wider functionality integrated with their already advanced workflow tools, with potential for smart analytics that will only grow and grow in value. This, in turn, will boost efficiency for farms in terms of their input usage and helping to identify parts of the land that offer greater returns or even areas that can be let back into nature – particularly valuable as the government seeks to reward farms for their positive environmental impact.

“Think of it as a pyramid,” says Hollie. “Once you’ve got your data fundamentals as a foundation, you can build from there to achieve best practice in a way that works for you, enabling your business to thrive even as the industry becomes increasingly complex. The partnership between Farmplan and Proagrica allows a uniquely joined-up approach for users that will benefit their business.”

A new era

As part of Proagrica, Farmplan have the infrastructural support at hand to face the new demands of a moving industry.

Farms that face this new reality and its opportunities head-on are well placed to strengthen their position in the market. For example, imagine a business in 2001 refusing to consider creating an email account for their company – phone calls have always worked perfectly well for them. Their business could certainly continue, maybe even with little short-term difference. From our position in 2021 though, we can see that this decision is unnecessarily short-sighted and limiting to their business’s potential.

“Farming is changing in so many ways,” says Hollie. “For example, consumers are more concerned about where their food comes from and expect it to be sustainably and ethically sourced. This in turn puts unprecedented pressure on supermarkets, restaurants and retailers to make buying decisions which satisfy those demands.”

For farmers, their biggest challenge is to reorientate their gaze towards the marketplace. What is your place in the supply network? Many are uncertain and anxious but we have good reason for optimism. Yes, this is a time of change but also unparalleled opportunity. Together, we can be part of the solution, not only in providing food but also in protecting nature and creating a more sustainable future. That future is ours to determine.

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    Together we can be part of the solution, not only in providing food but also in protecting nature and creating a more sustainable future. That future is ours to determine.