Farmer using agtech

4 Ways Agtech Impacts Your Food

When you think tech and its everyday impact, what comes to mind? Is it the latest voice assistant, smartwatch or drone deliveries?

What about the farm? How about agtech?

It’s easy to picture the pitchfork and overalls when you think about farming. But don’t be fooled. Our industry – and farmers especially – are quickly gaining reputations for being the ultimate tech junkies. From weather apps to field calculators, farmers might even rival your teenager for daily smart phone use. And what happens on the farm has big implications for your plate. In fact, here are 4 ways agtech impacts your food.

  1. “Fitbits” keep cows happy and healthy. It’s the ultimate agtech twist on wearable technology. The CowManager tool was developed to equip farmers with real-time information about each of their cows, ranging from eating patterns to body temperature. Tracking these important health parameters via individual cow ear tags lets farmers quickly detect if there’s an injury or illness to treat.

What does it mean for your plate? Early intervention equals fewer health issues. And a happy, healthy cow makes more milk. So drink up!

  1. Blockchain bolsters food supply transparency. Blockchain is as techy as it gets, so it’s no surprise we’re finding uses for it in the food supply chain. Companies like Walmart use the digital ledger to track produce from farm to store, which can be helpful when food safety issues arise, or to verify specific food claims. For you, it means an even safer, more transparent supply chain.
  2. Electronic sow feeders dispense customized meals. Thanks to agtech, we can offer meal customization to mama pigs, called sows. An electronic sow feeder works like this:
  • Pigs relax in an open pen and decide when it’s time to eat.
  • Individual pigs enter the feeding stall and a door locks behind them, meaning no food fights.
  • The pig’s ear tag is scanned by the feed machine and a personalized amount of food drops down.

Custom meals, trackable consumption, no competition for food. All these add up to healthy pigs that can raise healthy piglets.

  1. CRISPR creates crop improvements. Soybeans that produce heart-healthy oil without trans fats is just one example of what traditional breeding, genetic modification and now gene-editing technology can do. CRISPR, which stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, is the second generation of genetic engineering that can precisely change the genetic code, or DNA, within a living thing. With this technology researchers are working to solve a range of food-related concerns for both consumers and farmers, such as improved nutrition, reduced allergens and more resilient food crops.