Bringing Young Farmers Home - The Attraction of Ag Tech

Husker Home Place

New farm gadgets and technology lure young farmers back to the fields.

Published on: May 14, 2012

When Plainview native, Brandon Christiansen, was sitting in the classroom during his Senior year of high school, he had no desire to return to the farm. Although he grew up helping his father, Rick, he didn’t think the farm had a future for him.

Rick says that he always believed his son would one day return. He recalls the days when young Brandon would curl up asleep inside the door of the farm house, so his father wouldn’t forget to wake him and allow him to ride along when it came time to go to the fields.

As a teenager, Brandon wasn’t so sure. But learning about emerging technology while attending college production agriculture classes at Northeast Community College in Norfolk slowly changed Brandon’s heart and mind. By the time he finished school, the young farm kid had decided to return and to become a critical player in his family’s operation.

LURE OF TECHNOLOGY: Brandon Christiansen (right) and  his father Rick have embraced high tech ag and integrated it into every facet of their row crop operation.
LURE OF TECHNOLOGY: Brandon Christiansen (right) and his father Rick have embraced high tech ag and integrated it into every facet of their row crop operation.

Today, Brandon is the king tech guru around the Christiansen farm. Rick says that he is decidedly “old school” when it comes to farming. But Brandon has embraced technology of all kinds, from data collection and management, auto guidance, precision and variable rate technology, camera and video. If it is new and advanced technology, Brandon wants to try it out.

He believes that precision ag has allowed their operation to place inputs in the most effective place possible, providing the optimal opportunity for increased yield and profits.

TECH GURU: Christiansen takes the time to read all of the service manuals for his technology gadgets, to get the most out of his sytems.
TECH GURU: Christiansen takes the time to read all of the service manuals for his technology gadgets, to get the most out of his sytems.

He has digested service manuals on each of his gadgets, and is so knowledgeable that his family and neighbors often turn to him to help them work out the kinks in their own ag tech systems.

Brandon is a stickler when it comes to precision. Numbers have to be real. Field names have to be spelled correctly. He isn’t comfortable with default settings on his tech equipment. He digs in and sets everything himself, so he can obtain maximum results. That’s what makes the tech pay for itself, he says.

For Brandon, technology has brought him back to the farm. He loves tech and gadgets, and he says that farming today has embraced and incorporated technology into every facet so well, that it is fun to observe the results.

His father agrees. Rick says that their farming operation would not be what it is without the technology, and Brandon. It seems that on the Christiansen farm and many other farms around the country, the newest generation of farmers is being lured back to the fields and farmyards by the high tech integration that is going on in agriculture. You will read more about Brandon, Rick and their utilization of high tech tools on the farm in a future issue of Nebraska Farmer.

Next time, I will blog about another young ag producer returning home. I will write about a young rancher who served a tour of duty with the Marines in Iraq, but has now opted to turn in his combat boots for cowboy boots and the family ranch west of Elgin.