By Mark Koba
Innovation and agriculture may be the proverbial peas in a pod. Each has grown together, creating a harvest of new methods for food gathering.
Take Bo Stone, a sixth-generation farmer who raises nearly 10,000 hogs a year, while growing corn, wheat, soybeans and strawberries.
“We use GPS and satellite technology to guide our tractors,” said Stone, who with his wife and parents owns the 2,300 acres of P&S Farms near the town of Rowland, North Carolina.
“We download soil maps to our handheld devices to write prescriptions to give each part of our fields the right amount of fertilizer and pesticides,” he said.
The 43-year-old Stone, who holds a master’s degree in agriculture, keeps his tablet and mobile phone with him during the long working days, while using his off hours to do research on new tech advances.
Every device is used to maintain efficiency while growing his business. “The technology is another tool in the toolbox of farming. It’s very important for my operations,” Stone said.
The recent advances have been starting at the bottom of the supply chain, said Derek Yach, executive director of the Vitality Institute.
“We have better seeds, better forms of plant breeding, better soil nutrients and increased yields of crops,” said Yach, who is a former senior vice president of global health and agriculture policy at PepsiCo.
“And it’s really just getting under way now,” he said.
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