How “Boring Innovation” Holds the Key to the Future of Agriculture

boring innovation

Farming is an old business. But a stroll around your average farm today looks a lot different than the outdated, rural caricature many people hold in their minds when they think of the profession. In contrast, most agricultural professionals today are equipped with highly advanced technology - a trend that is likely to continue in an increasingly rapid way over the coming years. 

This explosion of technology on farms has had many great benefits, creating new efficiencies and operational scale that would have been unimaginable for previous generations. However, what is often lost in the noise behind this innovation is the need for it to solve real problems experienced by growers, their advisors, and downstream partners. 

Unfortunately, many of the problems that remain unsolved in agriculture remain so, not because they are impossible to solve but because they aren’t flashy enough. While technologists try to sell an increasing bundle of technology to the more than 2 million farms and ranches across the United States, the true cry from the industry is for more ground-level things like allowing retailers to build relationships with their growers at the organizational level; to optimize the efficacy of inputs, or to improve the way teams of agronomists and growers can collaborate on-farm. 

Solving these problems may not make technologists like myself feel like we are on the bleeding edge of new development, but it does put us on the cutting edge of problem-solving for an industry that is growing weary of the “all sizzle, no steak” delivery that agtech has been guilty of in the past. In fact, research suggests that only 25% of growers adopt new technologies on their farms because the solutions are too tedious to manage, and at the same time 70% of growers say that the software they currently use does not meet their needs. The reality that we face is not a lack of technical prowess in agricultural technology but a lack of willingness on the part of companies to devote themselves to meeting their customer's needs while lowering the friction points to realizing value. 

We have to become comfortable solving the real problems of agriculture; we have to become okay with “boring innovation.” 

The Benefit of “Boring Innovation” in Agriculture

I believe in technology’s ability to make farming and agriculture more proactive, more decisive, and more profitable. 

Admittedly, technology has a lot to offer the agricultural industry, from increased yields and profits to more efficient use of resources and sustainability. However, the innovation that will truly change the future of agriculture will be focused on solving the problems actually experienced on-farm and must be simple to adopt. As developers, we must be problem-led, collaborative in approach, hyper-focused on our specific piece of the agricultural value chain, and earnest in our desire to unlock value at the farmgate.

For example, most agricultural companies claim to compete on superior grower relationships, but there is almost no technology built to facilitate true relationship building. Instead, most technologies are stuck only focused on the shiny new objects that may be fun to present at tradeshows and industry conferences but have a history of falling flat when the rubber meets the road. 

Contact us to learn more about our Advanced Analytics products. 

Innovation that matters is difficult. Solving real-world problems while reducing the complexity for the end user can be incredibly frustrating, but it's exactly how we have built our systems at Soiltech - grower first, with the capability to help them better collaborate with their downstream partners.

The Soiltech Solution

We are building to be a critical element in the technology stack of any farmer, advisor, or partner who wants to grow or advise more precisely. That is why we have designed the Soiltech solution to be the first fully integrated seed-to-shelf analysis tool. It all begins with the sensor delivering data through the entire crop and product supply chain - from the soil where it's planted as a seed to the storage facility where it is transformed into food, fuel, or fiber. 

This provides farmers and their downstream partners to be proactive about the decisions they're making throughout this process to deliver better quality goods, enhance product value, and solidify the partnership between the farmgate and their customers.

The Soiltech ecosystem actively monitors real-time success factors, including soil moisture, temperature, humidity, damage, and location. These measurements provide growers, advisors, researchers, and downstream supply chain partners with critical insights, enabling optimal decisions and outcomes.  

Learn more about how Soiltech Wireless and our “boring innovation” is unlocking value for farmers and their advisors today through our Advanced Analytics.