With the COVID-19 pandemic having a greater impact on food and the supply chain, particularly in densely populated areas, and the precision agriculture market set to grow in the next five years, we have a big opportunity to tap into it—along with the power of AI (artificial intelligence) and the IoT (Internet of Things)—to help make a difference in sustainability and the move from grey to green to blue.

In precision farming, a set of technologies are applied that aim to manage variations in the field to maximize yield, heighten productivity, and reduce consumption. Research from Berg Insight shows the global market for precision agriculture will grow at a compound annual rate of 6.8% between 2020 and 2025.

Here is what this analyst’s research shows: While solutions such as auto-guidance and machine monitoring and control via on-board displays today are mainstream technologies in the agricultural industry, telematics and VRT (variable rate technology) are still in the early stages of adoption. Interoperability between solutions remains a challenge, although standardization initiatives are picking up. Another key point to note is dealerships play a big role in ag, as the customer base is spread out in remote locations.

Like many other industries, the IoT and AI are linking the physical and digital worlds by altering every single function within agriculture. We have been talking about how wireless technology can help in farming and agriculture for decades. Remote-control systems can watch crops from afar. Farmers can remotely manage greenhouses and farms. Technology can provide insight into humidity and temperature. We can leverage technology to move toward more connected, smart farming and agriculture—and many have taken this step.

Now, at the same time, we need to raise awareness about the benefits of how permaculture and the implementation of sustainable farming efforts can help. Simply permaculture is a design science based on the principles of ecological design and sustainability of the natural ecosystems and is rooted in the observation of positive results from the creation and managing of systems for food, medicine, water, and more.

It is something I look at in depth in my book Sustainable in a Circular World, and it is a conversation I had with the Dominican Sisters of Adrian, Michigan. Director of Sustainability Corine Sanders explained how the sisters are passionate about locally grown food and food that is grown regenerative and gives back into the land what has been taken. The bigger goal here is to make regenerative communities bigger and to share with multi-generational families so they can have the same success and build on this foundation.

This is simply one example. We are seeing the benefits of precision ag, permaculture design or regenerative techniques, urban farming—in combination with the IoT and AI—all coming together to help make more sustainable communities across the globe.

The point here is the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin.) and the NCEI (Nation Centers for Environmental Information) report the number of billion-dollar disasters has hit a whopping 22 this past year alone in the U.S., and 285 since it began tracking in 1980. NCEI is known for tracking global climate events revealing their economic and societal impact.

The increase in weather volatility is demonstrating a need for regenerative ag practices in rural and urban areas. We are seeing a surge in businesses and consumers alike seeking ways to mitigate climate damage and increase healthy soil usage even if it results in some form of indoor farming.

The rise in leveraging sensors, apps, and the right data, are rapidly providing insights for predicting the right yields and reducing food waste all while delivering the best crop possible wherever people are seeking to grow it.

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