Calloused hands from years of hard labor. Weary eyes from decades of watching the sun and the fields and the weather. Deep wrinkles from what seems like a century of hoping that this year’s harvest will provide enough to get by.
This is the stereotypical farmer that many Americans tend to think of when we are talking about the people that grow our food. Dirty boots, coveralls, plaid shirts, straw hats and maybe a piece of straw sticking out from between their teeth.
While many growers have donned these items in the past (and even present), you are just as likely to see the farmers of today in lab coats as you are in Wrangler jeans and Woolrich jackets.
Today’s farms have many different layers and the people managing them wear many different hats beyond just monitoring crop growth. Managing employees, staying in contact with regulators, researching new agriculture technologies, testing soil samples, and even marketing their businesses, 21st-century farmers must be well-versed in a variety of different industries. And because of this, farmers are no longer simply "farmers"—they are agricultural business owners.
Highland Precision Ag works to make it easier for agricultural business owners to get access to the tools they need to help them complete these tasks. Many of them have been using agricultural technologies for years, including: remote sensing technology, global-navigation satellite systems and more. Additionally, many of the growers that Highland Precision Ag works with hold college degrees in agriculture that they combine with generations of passed-down farming knowledge.
The stereotype of the typical farmer isn’t necessarily damaging to their day-to-day business. But it may make it difficult to overcome complex legal challenges, as it may be assumed that they are uneducated and ill-versed in complicated legal matters that directly impact their businesses. This is simply not true, as many farmers thoroughly understand the impact ineffective legislation has on their farming operations. Moving past the farmer stereotype may give agricultural business owners the authority they need to overcome these issues.
Not only does moving past the stereotypical image farmers support them on a legal front, it may also inspire more young people to pursue a career in agriculture who might not have family ties to a farm. With many universities adding precision agriculture coursework to their agriculture programs, we see a future where farmers can utilize both the best practices of yesteryear and the technological advances of today.