Photo courtesy of Climate Corporation.
Big Ag has discovered Big Data in a Big Way and it’s making Big News. In fact, it made the front page of the Wall Street Journal last week as industry representatives and producers chimed in on the brewing debate over the subject of data and data ownership. Bold moves especially by firms like Monsanto buying a “big data” firm like Climate Corporation for nearly a billion dollars only has added fuel to the fire.
It was a very sobering article regarding the great number of questions that are yet to be resolved regarding this subject of data and who is in control. The biggest question for producers is who is driving this ship – them or the seed companies? If producers want to take the wheel they better grab it before it is too late. Also is there a place for smaller independent data management firms like Prime Meridian amongst the industry giants like Monsanto, Deere and Pioneer. Here is the link to the very in-depth and thought provoking article in last week’s Wall Street Journal.
In 1982 John Naisbitt published his prophetic best seller entitled, Megatrends. His overall theme and prediction was that modern America was in the middle of a revolution. A revolution that would see an industrial-based economy upended by something called an information society.
He couldn’t have been more dead on. His predictions were amazingly precise especially considering that the Internet was basically in its infancy and no one had ever heard of an iPhone or Google.
One of the industries that’s in the middle of one of the final battles of this revolution is agriculture. There was a time only a few short years ago that the coffee shop talk centered around the horsepower of Farmer Joe’s new 4-wheel drive tractor or seeing Tom’s 24-row planter in the field for the first time. Today as you listen in on these conversations the horsepower and big machinery talk has been superseded by discussions about Internet Service Providers, bandwidth and mobile Mi-Fi’s.
There is no doubt that farming is not what it used to be and it will be transformed in ways that we have yet to comprehend. The biggest issue at hand is how will producers on the farm – the place where agriculture originates – adjust to this sea change in the agricultural landscape? Getting used to the space-age controls of a new tractor is one thing but managing mountains of streaming agronomic and economic data is an entirely separate skill set.
There are certain to be casualties in this revolution and it will change the landscape and demographics of agriculture in its wake. Prediction: farms will get bigger. Older producers will choose retirement rather than to fight this new battle. Bandwidth and connectivity will become the new horsepower on the farm. And alongside the farm manager and your trusted agronomist will be your new information manager.
Who will train YOU for this battle? How do YOU even go about fighting such a battle? This is why Prime Meridian came to be. We saw this revolution looming on the horizon and we decided to act to help prepare producers with the services and skills that they would need in order to win in this brave new world.
Soon John Naisbitt’s prophecy will be complete. Agriculture has shifted its focus to the information age and data is becoming the farm’s most important crop. The final question is whether you and your farm are prepared to fight this new battle? If you’re waiting for a modern-day Paul Revere to warn you about the information age – take note – that horse rode about 30 years ago.
We’re happy to welcome you to the Prime Meridian Blog. Our goal is to make this blog the center of discussion for all precision agriculture data while demonstrating how technology that provides storing and sharing tools can lead to profit for your farm.
We believe that farm data belongs to the customer. It’s your farm, and that means it should be your data. It should be yours to share with the local professionals you trust. We believe that is the only way that precision agriculture and your farm can grow. Not everyone feels the same way. Stay tuned, as we expect this to be a fairly interesting topic and potentially controversial topic on this blog.
But this won’t be a blog just about farm data. We’ll talk about Ag news, precision farming and hopefully give you some insights into what goes into making your farm perform at an optimum level.
We’d prefer that this be a two way conversation. So let us know what you think of what you’re reading and make suggestions on what you’d like to learn more about. We’re listening.
Lastly, we get a lot of questions about our name. The “Prime Meridian” is a line of longitude at which the longitude is zero. So basically, everything starts from 0 degrees, or, the Prime Meridian. When it comes to farm data, we’d like you to start with us.