Farming is often viewed as a profession hopelessly tied to traditional methods and values. Obviously, this perception ignores the tremendous strides in technology and scientific understanding made by the ag industry, especially in the last hundred years. We’ve looked at trends in tech adoption on farms, but how do farmers come to embrace new ideas and how do they integrate them into their businesses?
Making the Decision
Traditionally, researchers cite a number of factors that affect how likely a farm is to adopt new technology:
- The farm’s size, as larger operations spread fixed costs over a greater area.
- The farm’s capacity to bear financial risk.
- The ability of the farm’s workers to adjust to change.
- Labor availability, as a labor surplus produces less pressure for more efficient technologies.
- Access to credit to finance new technologies’ high initial cost.
- Land tenure, or the legal framework surrounding land ownership, as the uncertainty and risk mentioned above can threaten the very land on which the farm is built
- Access to markets selling the resources new technologies may demand.
Other factors may come into play on a case-by-case basis. If a farm has similar physical conditions to a neighbor, they may be more likely to try out new technology that their neighbor is using, since they can learn from the other farm’s success or failure.
Modern farms may also be driven by environmental concerns . Modern producers understand more about how farming impacts the environment. New technologies allow them to grow crops more responsibly, and they also let crops be used for energy in the form of biofuels that replace harmful fossil fuels.
Implementing New Ideas
So, when a farmer decides to look for new tools or techniques, how do they go about making the change? Like any other business, farmers need to know that changing their operation will have a strong return on investment . This means researching the new tools, asking questions of both suppliers and other farmers, and viewing that information in light of their own
One way to ease the transition into new technology is by studying the tools and techniques in advance, and an excellent medium for such learning is video. A surprising number of farmers claim YouTube is their primary social media platform. Around the world, the internet is bringing new knowledge to traditional farms through crowdsourced video tutorials and social networking.
In all, it takes about 40 years for a technology to be fully adopted by most farms. There are always early adopters, of course, and the overall tech adoption curve seems to be speeding up. But a company trying to introduce a new tool or product still needs to overcome a certain inertia. And the best way to do that is by having the best information about prospective customers. Farm Market iD supplies that information, with the richest, most reliable farm database available for ag marketing. Contact us for more information.