Posts Tagged ‘precision ag’

It’s not your grandpa’s farm anymore…or is it?

By:  Melissa Runge

We have all seen the stereotype of a farmer being portrayed as an older gentleman with a pitchfork in his hand, right? Indeed, if you were to glance at the 2012 US Census of Agriculture report, it would quickly become apparent that some of those stereotypical characteristics are in fact true. This study reported the average age of a principal farm owner in 2012 was 58.3 years old which is up from the average age of 57.1 years in 2007. This increase in the average age of principal owners has been a trend for more than 30 years, with no perceptible reversal in sight. While most farmers are older than the average population, that doesn’t mean he is carrying a pitchfork; think more along the lines of an iPad.

What does this mean for the farming business?  It means those who are farming are getting older and younger farmers are not lining up to enter the business. Times are changing and equipment manufacturers have an obligation to farmers to provide products that ensure this business stays relevant and exciting while not only providing value to existing customers but also attracting new customers. As with most generations, the younger set considers cash as the most important perk of a job. In 2013, Ernst & Young conducted a survey to determine which characteristics were prevalent by generation.  This survey included 1,215 cross-company professionals and grouped them into three categories:  Millennials–ages 18-32, Generation X–ages 33-48 and Boomers–ages 49-57.  Overwhelmingly it showed that cash is still the king of perks.

All of this research suggests that younger generations aren’t lining up to enter the business of large acreage farming for one reason: LACK OF CASH. Not only is it expensive to start a farming operation, if grandpa wasn’t in the business, young people are even less likely to jump into farming.  According to a 2016 report from Iowa State University which estimates the costs of crop production in Iowa, the average cost to farm an acre of land was between approximately $600 and $800 per acre. This includes the cost of machinery, seeds, chemicals, labor and land.  These ongoing costs are quite substantial and do not include any startup costs, and taken together, they are proving to be intimidating to a young farmer.

AGCO understands the need to attract these potential customers, the young farmer, but also to make our existing customers, including the seasoned farmer, more successful.  One way this can happen is through technology. Let’s face it: technology is here to stay and we must embrace it no matter what industry or generation we are in. We are all guilty of getting lost in our phone or computer from time to time; however, for Millennials this is how business is conducted. According to that same Ernst & Young survey, Millennials are regarded as the most tech savvy generation (78%) compared to Generation X (18%) and Boomers (4%). As AGCO continues to grow our Fuse Technologies product portfolio and dealers offer Fuse Connected Services, it is imperative that we keep these characteristics in mind.

By not only introducing new and updated Fuse technologies including guidance, telematics and applications to optimize the farm, the introduction of Fuse Connected Services provides customers service and support to ensure these products are being used correctly. These technologies and services are allowing farms to become more and more technology-driven, which suits the younger, future farmer demographic while also optimizing the farms of existing farmers to improve yields and profitability. melissa blog

The end result for our customers of all generations will be the same– INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY AND INCREASED PROFIT which in turn will attract more new farmers into the business and keep farming relevant and exciting.

For more information on AGCO’s precision farming products, data management policy and Fuse Connected Services, please visit

Melissa Runge is the global program manager for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group.

Fuse Delivers Award Winning Resources for AGCO Customers and Dealers

Fuse Awards

From the launch of Fuse Connected Services to new product and partnership announcements, 2015 has been an exciting year for the AGCO farmer. In addition to delivering best-in-class solutions for growers, AGCO continued its commitment to providing resources for growers and dealers that want to understand more about Fuse.

AGCO’s precision farming approach is gaining recognition, and this likely impressed the members of The New Economy judging panel in February 2015, which awarded AGCO with The New Economy Clean Tech Award for Best Agribusiness & Agricultural Solution.

The following month, the global Fuse website,, won two Interactive Media Awards™ for Outstanding Achievement in the areas of ‘Science/Technology’ and ‘Professional Services’ due to the site’s detailed content and usability.  In September the site was also honored with a Silver W3 Award based on design and creative elements. The Fuse website features information about Fuse products and services, as well as support and training resources.

Another resource to learn more about Fuse is our video showcasing AGCO’s vision for the future of precision farming. The video brings a greater understanding of the Fuse strategy by highlighting the benefits it brings to AGCO customers and dealers. Since the video’s release, it has been honored with a Gold Remi Award in the ‘Agriculture’ category as well as a prestigious Silver Cannes Corporate Media & TV Award.

Providing excellent resources to AGCO customers and dealers is just one way AGCO is delivering on the Fuse approach to precision farming. Coming soon in 2016 will be the launch of additional languages of the Fuse website and a new payback calculator tool to help growers understand the value of precision farming, in addition to new videos featuring our products, services and customer testimonials.

Take a look at the Fuse website, spend a view minutes watching the video and learn how Fuse technologies and services are connecting your farm enterprise like never before.


Abby Burton is a marketing communications specialist for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group, focusing on delivering the Fuse message to customers, dealers, employees and investors.

IAS Year in Review and Looking Forward: AGCO and Appareo Systems Joint Venture

By Abby Burton

Last year, AGCO and Appareo Systems announced their partnership on a joint venture, Intelligent Agricultural Solutions (IAS), to enable breakthrough agricultural innovations for creating a more optimized farm.IAS_Logo_Vert_RGB

As the flagship of AGCO’s Fuse partnering model, the IAS joint venture presents a unique funding mechanism and structure to quickly drive new, creative technologies that will help growers reduce costs and waste while improving yield and efficiency.

2015 saw success in IAS’ existing product line, progress on six development projects and the addition of five new projects entering the concepting phase. The Wireless Blockage and Flow Monitor currently on the market is an acoustic-based monitoring solution that provides quick and accurate notification of blockages anywhere in an air seeder, fertilizer, or box drill. The simplicity and reliability of this product makes it one of the best in the industry.

With so many products in the development stage and several launching in 2016, the market will begin to see the strength of the IAS innovation engine. Several of the new technologies will be featured at a field day in the fall of 2016 where growers will have the opportunity to see the products in action and learn firsthand how these products can increase their farm productivity and improve their bottom line.

Stay tuned for more news on product releases in the summer of 2016. To learn more about IAS, visit


Abby Burton is a marketing communications specialist for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group, focusing on delivering the Fuse message to customers, dealers, employees and investors.

AGCO Testifies on Big Data in Agriculture

By Abby Burton

AGCO was invited to testify in front of the House Agriculture Committee that took place October 28, 2015. In announcing the Full Committee public hearing, Big Data and Agriculture: Innovation and Implications, Chairman K. Michael Conaway explained that the hearing would be a forum for stakeholders to explain what big data means to their business and how it is changing the agriculture marketplace.
As one of five expert witnesses, and representing the only machinery company on the panel, Matt Rushing, vice president, Global Advanced Technology Solutions (ATS) Product Line at AGCO, offered perspective into the area of agriculture data: what it is, the potential it holds for helping growers increase productivity, some challenges the industry faces and, most importantly, the exciting opportunity to help growers leverage their data effectively.Matt Testifying 2

In Rushing’s written and verbal testimony on behalf of AGCO, he explained how new, precision agriculture technologies are creating tremendous amounts of data that has so far not been utilized by most growers. Being able to harness this generated data has the potential to be the next big driver in productivity gains. Smart, connected machines and growers’ ability to effectively manage and use farm data is at the forefront of the next farming revolution. With these changes, states AGCO’s testimony, shared standards for accessing, processing and ownership of this data must be agreed upon.

The testimony highlights some challenges, and what AGCO is doing in the space. With challenges such as technical barriers and adoption, it is up to leaders in the ag industry to develop and advocate for technology that achieves a secure, standardized yet adaptable environment, and keeping data sharing choices open, so growers can use it how they want to maximize its potential. Ownership is a key piece of farm data discussion. AGCO asserts that the farmer owns and should have control and responsibility for the data generated by his or her operation. In an effort to further respect growers’ data privacy choices, AGCO has separated its data pipelines; one for machine data, and on for more sensitive agronomic data. The agronomic data pipeline is not aggregated, evaluated or stored by AGCO other than to facilitate the transfer between the machine and the software chosen by the grower.

“Agriculture data is the ultimate grower tool to minimize risk and increase profitability while enabling them to become better stewards of the land,” said Rushing in the testimony. “AGCO’s focus is on helping growers make sense of their data, and we were honored to be asked to testify representing the machinery side of the industry,” he said.

AGCO’s testimony closes in saying it is an exciting time to be a part of the agriculture industry, and calls attention to “an unprecedented level of cooperation among farmer advocacy groups, industry associations, biotech companies, equipment manufacturers and technology providers – all coming together to help growers utilize data to feed the world.”

To download a white paper of Matt Rushing’s testimony, click here.

Click here to view the recorded hearing.

For more information about Fuse, AGCO’s open approach to precision agriculture, visit

Abby Burton is a marketing communications specialist for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group, focusing on delivering the Fuse message to customers, dealers, employees and investors.

AGCO Visits Silicon Valley to Meet Innovators Helping to Feed the World

By Ben Craker

A key aspect of the Fuse strategy is to seek out new and innovative technologies to integrate into machines.  AGCO understands how quickly new technologies change and develop. This means no one company will be able to provide all the different solutions farmers will want on their own. Partnering allows AGCO to focus on developing core machines and on technologies that have become integral to the machine. A good example of this is the recent announcement for the new VarioGuide and Auto-Guide systems. We have taken the approach that no one will be better at steering a machine built by AGCO than AGCO. However, we are not experts in the development of GNSS receivers, so we have partners like NovAtel, Topcon, and Trimble to provide industry leading receivers with their own unique features that connect into the AGCO machines and technology products.

Royse Event

Pictured L to R: Erica Riel-Carden (Royse Law), Chris Rhodes (AGCO), Roger Royse, Darren Goebel (AGCO

Following the Fuse open partnering strategy, earlier this month a team from AGCO, including Chris Rhodes and Ben Craker from Advanced Technology Solutions and Darren Goebel from Global Crop Care, traveled to Silicon Valley to meet with a variety of tech startups that are focused on agriculture. The Royse Law Firm has created an incubator for these new companies to help them take their innovative ideas to market. Silicon Valley is perhaps the global epicenter for innovation but often the creative people, who have developed a new product or service, don’t have the funding or industry experience to grow their business beyond a fairly small scale. This is where Roger Royce and his “incubator” come in. The AgTech Innovation Network connects startup businesses with potential investors or partners like AGCO to help companies get past the new-idea phase and into the market.

As AGCO looks to the horizon and the next technologies that will change the way farms operate, startups in Silicon Valley will likely play a big role.  Through participation with the groups like the AgTech Innovation Network and Farm2050, AGCO will learn about these emerging technologies first hand and integrate them into products promptly to help growers become more productive, efficient and sustainable.  At last week’s meeting AGCO made connections with companies in areas from fleet and employee management, to food freshness monitoring and traceability, to enhanced wireless communications in remote areas and localized weather information.

While not every product or service fits exactly into the current AGCO portfolio, many of them could be adapted to provide new and exciting tools for growers with AGCO equipment. For instance, some of the sensor technology developed for a robotic fruit harvester may have other uses in application equipment. This is part of the purpose of the incubator, to expose the products to different people who may have slightly different viewpoints on what they could be best used for, or what markets would really see a demand for the technology. It was a very exciting meeting with a lot of companies for the AGCO partnering team to follow up with on future possibilities.

Ben Craker is a Manager for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group, focusing on Global Partnerships and Standards for Fuse Technologies. Connect with Ben on Twitter @crakerb.

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