What Will Attract the Next Generation of Farmers?

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The newest crop of farmers loves high tech tools.

Published on: June 2, 2011

The newest crop of farmers loves high tech tools.

In the past few weeks, I’ve had the privilege to meet a few father-son farming teams. Stories about these farmers will show up in future print issues of Nebraska Farmer. Both family farms have a few important things in common. The fathers are progressive, hardworking, creative and business-oriented. The sons are smart, energetic and ready to embrace the next efficiency on their farms. But the most important common aspect between these operations is that they have both fully implemented high tech tools in their operations.

LOVES HIGH TECH TOOLS: Eric Doerr and his father Gary have embraced high tech tools in all of their farming operations, including the use of GPS mapping and auto steer in spreading manure.


Gary and Liz Doerr and their son, Eric, of Creighton raise hogs and crops.  They utilize GPS guidance systems and auto-steer on nearly every field operation imaginable, including disking and spreading manure.

Eric says that he loves the technology part of farming. He understands which cables go where and how the mechanisms tick, and he knows how to use them to save fuel and use inputs efficiently. Gary and Liz are great record keepers, so having the capability to manage their numbers in the livestock and crop enterprises is a great asset to their operation.

PLANTING INNOVATION: Mike Dvorak (background) and his son Chris have modified their planter to improve seed placement and ease of planting over the rolling no-till fields on their farm near Clarkson.

Mike and Chris Dvorak farm corn and soybeans between Leigh and Clarkson. They too have embraced technology in their operation. An added bonus for the Dvorak farm is that Chris has an engineering degree from the University of Nebraska. He has utilized his degree to implement homemade, practical modifications on some of their machinery, including some really innovative additions to their planter. I got to see this up close when I visited their farm on a day when they were planting soybeans.

Some farm experts have been questioning what will interest a new generation in production agriculture. They have been asking what might bring a new crop of talented individuals back to the farm. I think I’ve found part of the answer in these farm visits.

Technology has sprung forward in leaps and bounds in seed, in livestock and in machinery on the farm in recent years. The young farmers love it. The veteran farmers accept it and embrace it, because they can see how it pays for itself and how it improves the utilization of inputs and preserves precious natural resources.

The verdict on high tech tools is in for me. And my vote is that high tech is here to stay and what it will bring for agriculture around the corner is out of this world. Besides, the next generation of farmers loves it, knows how to use it and knows the good that it brings to rural America.

See, all those video games the kids played as youngsters finally pays off.