Farming and the Glass Barn
So much has been in the news lately about flood and drought and other complications that come with farming. But the one story that hasn’t been told is how Indiana achieves a $37 billion dollar industry with 96 percent of its farms being family operated.
Yes, weather plays a significant part in what we do. But we’re a robust, resourceful and responsible group of families across the state that help feed 6 million Hoosiers and contribute to feeding more than 300 million people throughout the nation. That story is what we as farmers live every day, and we use some pretty sophisticated technology to make it happen.
Farming technology today runs the gamut from emerging innovations like grain carts that run through the fields unmanned, to collars that indicate when it’s time to milk cows, and smartphones that can identify pest problems in the fields.
We use self-guided, GPS-enabled farm equipment, like planters and combines that use infrared aerial technology to provide farmers with real-time overhead imagery. That means in just a matter of minutes, farmers can see where crops are growing on track in a field, and where a crop loss has occurred. Farmers don’t even have to step into the field to make that discovery; we’re getting it directly downloaded onto our computers or mobile devices.
And the equipment systems we use collect crucial information that we can compare year to year, and make improvements year over year. Because of smarter farming technology across the board, one farmer today can feed about 150 people, compared to approximately 70 people in 1970.
While no one discounts the almanac, we’ve certainly come a long way from counting wooly worms in the road to tell us how to manage our farms in the coming season. In just a few days, Indiana will have a chance to see and hear that story when the Glass Barn opens up at the Indiana State Fair.