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Sustainability for the agriculture industry: The era of precision ag has arrived

In celebrating National Agriculture Week and National Ag Day the past week, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) in the US published this article to highlight the role that precision agriculture plays in sustainability for the agriculture industry.

AEM points out that the USDA has identified three pillars of sustainability for the agriculture industry: reduced environmental impact, increased productivity and yield, and a better overall economic result. Today’s precision agriculture technologies are helping crop farmers make significant gains with all three pillars.

“For the environmental benefits of precision agriculture to take shape, farmers need to generate more yield and at least break even from a financial standpoint,” said AEM Senior Vice President of Ag Services Curt Blades. “If a farmer is going to change a practice or invest in a new technology, the economic impact of that action has to be part of the conversation. Fortunately, we now have some rather compelling research that makes it a big part of the conversation.”

The three USDA sustainability pillars line up perfectly with AEM’s newly released research, Environmental Benefits of Precision Ag. The study examined five key areas of the crop farming industry where precision agriculture can make both an environmental and economic impact, and then then examined five key areas of precision agriculture that can make an impact in those areas.

“Farmers are the original stewards of the land and have been doing good things for a long time,” said Blades. “Technology now affords farmers the ability to do even more — things that could never have happened before. A lot of GPS-driven technology is in place, giving farmers a whole new set of tools to help dial in the exact placement of seed, fertilizer and crop protection. This technology also helps farmers close the loop with insightful data that helps them monitor what they are doing to determine if there is room for improvement going forward.”

It’s important to note that precision agriculture technology adoption is not solely about the immediate benefits of reduced fuel, fertilizer, herbicide or water use. It is also about evolving the U.S. agriculture industry to a more productive, competitive and sustainable state.

“Every farmer knows in their heart of hearts that they are trying to do the right things, like protect the soil,” said Blades. “Farmers are not just doing these things for the next season; they are doing them for the next generation. Thanks to technology, there are additional tools available today that can help farmers achieve a goal they have always had: provide good food, energy and fiber to the public around the world. The beautiful thing about this new technology is that it doesn’t force a choice between environment over economics, or vice versa. With today’s precision agriculture technology, farmers can choose both.”

Source: AEM. Read the full article here
Photo: AEM

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