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Using Technology to Advocate for Agriculture


Using Technology to Advocate for Agriculture

Kyle Tom

This week is National Ag Week, an opportunity for farmers to advocate with the public about agriculture. One Indiana farmer is using technology to advocate for agriculture. Tom Farms in Kosciusko County is one of the more progressive and technologically advanced operations in the state. Kyle Tom said they are using precision ag technology to help tell the story to the public, “Everything a farmer uses — seed, chemicals, nutrients are all important to his operation; and we have to help the public understand that and how we are serious about producing safe food and protecting the environment.”

One thing they have done at Tom Farms has put sensors in their fields. They originally put just a few sensors in to monitor water levels to help with their irrigation system. This year they expanded the number of sensors. “This year we put in 50 sensors around various fields so we can lower our energy usage and keep more water in the ground,” stated Tom.

Kyle Tom said these sensors also help monitor the environmental impact of their farming operation, “If I can verify that the nutrients I am putting on the soil are not going into nearby lakes and streams, I can then put that out there to my neighbors and the people who live on the lakes and show them that I am not polluting the water.”

He told HAT that, as more and more farmers collect more and more data about their operations, they can use this data to show the public how environmentally responsible most farming operations are.

Tom Farms has been using data for many years to improve their production and lower their costs. Tom told HAT that, the more data they collect, the more than learn about their farm and its soil, “With these probes we found the moisture holding capacity of our soil was much better than we thought.”  He added this allowed them to reduce their irrigation use which cut energy and water usage which reduced the environmental impact of their operation.  They use 13 different layers of data to analyze their operation and their production.