On the Farm, What Tech Tool is the Next Big Thing?

Husker Home Place

Technology and creativity keep progressing, so we openly ask ourselves, "What is the next great thing on the farm?"

Published on: June 4, 2013

I’ve been working on an article in recent days, following University of Nebraska research and Nebraska Department of Agriculture marketing efforts to get dry bean powder made from Nebraska Great Northern dry edible beans, into instant noodle cups in China. According to Lynn Reuter with the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission, Chinese consumers eat approximately 1300 instant noodle cups per minute. So, adding a teaspoon of dry bean powder boosts the nutritional value of those noodle cups for Chinese citizens, but it would also be an economic boom to dry bean growers in Nebraska.

You’ll read more about these ongoing efforts in a print article in one of our summer Nebraska Farmer issues. But my point is that research, promotion, technology and marketing efforts have combined in this particular instance to make a potential new market possible.


With all of the huge strides made in technology in agriculture in recent years, it makes me wonder what the next big thing will be. It was only a decade ago that farmers like myself were carrying around huge bag phones in their tractors to have mobile phone service, and we most likely needed an antennae to boot. Ten years before that, CB radios were used in communication, Good Buddy.

Not so many years ago, yield monitors used in combines were a technological breakthrough. But now, farmers are using yield monitors in coordination with so much variable rate technology in seed, fertilizer and irrigation, that it blows your mind to even consider what is coming down the road. From GPS, autosteer, smartphone apps and remote cameras to aerial imaging and drones, tech is changing the way we look at our farms and fields. Every time I interview a farmer or rancher, I learn some new way that technology is being utilized to make operations more efficient and profitable.

So, here is this week’s discussion question. What emerging technology will be the next big thing in agriculture? Let us know about your predictions.

Check out Nebraska Farmer online for the latest news on the growing and grazing season. You can read my Small Farm, Big Vision column in Dakota Farmer magazine, or follow Husker Home Place on Twitter. And watch this blog the last Friday of every month for my “Field Editor’s Report” featuring the positive stories about the families who raise our food. Pass it on!