Farmers are increasingly relying on data from technologies to make the best, most financially solvent decisions for their operations.
With the trade war, low commodity prices, and uncertainty surrounding 2019 yields, farmers are tightening their belts even more. Beth Ford, CEO of Land O’Lakes, said the SUSTAIN program helps producers make profitable decisions.
“The original environmentalist was the American farmer,” said Ford. “Every farmer I know reinvests in their land. What we do with our SUSTAIN group and our Truterra platform is help a farmer understand how they can continue to improve. Especially in this environment, make sure they’re driving profitable decisions.”
Land O’Lakes have also utilized platforms, analytics and AI to develop their own yield estimates for corn. By factoring in crop health, yield and prevent plant, Land O’Lakes estimates a 163 bushel per acre national yield for corn in 2019.
“This model is different than what USDA uses,” said Ford. “I’m not trying to be critical, but the new world leverages analytics in a way that will allow for an improved view of what’s going to happen at yield.”
One of the key points Ford wanted to make to producers at the Ceres Knowledge event is to encourage farmers to look to the future—as disruptions are opportunities and innovations turn into advantages.
“Innovation is the advantage if we continue to take advantage of it,” said Ford. “if we continue to do the same thing, it probably won’t get us there. When I’m out speaking [I encourage people] to take advantage of the new insights, the new tools, and understand all the new money coming into the sector.”
Ford also emphasized that farmers need to be their own biggest advocates on what their needs are in rural America.