KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Technology and innovation are helping farmers become more profitable at a time when rising tariffs have depressed crop prices.
Kansas City has become a hub for investment in agriculture-focused start-ups, focusing on remaining on the cutting edge of farming.
During the last few decades, farming has remained largely traditional, with growers doing the same things at the same time year after year.
Yet, just as technology has disrupted other traditional businesses, more farmers are recognizing that new tools are available to gather data that can make them more efficient and productive.
Drones now fly over farm fields in the same way farmers used to walk through their row crops. Using cameras and sensors, technology can identify disease, pests or fertility deficiency and recommend where to specifically treat crops and at what time to get the most benefit.
The Agriculture Business Council of Kansas City helps by matching investment money with innovations that boost the farm economy and the surrounding region.
Aker Technologies is one company with an office in Missouri that is focused on using these new techniques in the Heartland. According to their website, they work to improve the profits and sustainability of farming operations through technology.
“In some cases we tell growers, ‘Hey you are wasting your money, you are using a product you should use less, or not use at all,'” said Orlando Saez, founder of Aker Technologies. “In other cases, we tell the grower, ‘You should use this product. This is really making a difference in your field.'”
Every piece of land has unique characteristics. By using technology to optimize treatments for each particular plot of ground, farmers don’t waste money on chemicals they don’t need and can better predict what they will reap at harvest time.