Every year, the Farm Progress Show reveals the latest and greatest technology, machinery, and ideas surrounding agriculture. Machinery companies, ag retail, farmers, ranchers, and many others come to the show to see the promising future of agriculture on display, and to determine what they should be spending their time focusing on as we head into the fall. This year, our team had the opportunity to go to the show and speak about what we have going on at Continuum Ag. Mitchell and the team spent time with John Deere, Fox News, Trelleborg Tires, CIBO, Iowa Corn Growers, Sukup, and others speaking about soil health and where this is all going. So, where is agriculture heading? What should farmers be looking out for this next year?
1. Tillage is moving toward conservation.
As we walked around and saw the tillage machinery and massive 4 wheel drive tractors, it was a bit disheartening from the perspective of a soil health nerd (sorry tillage people!). What we noticed, however, is that most of the tillage equipment is moving away from conventional tillage, and heading toward the direction of minimum till or reduced till. Essentially every booth that had tillage equipment displayed had their high speed vertical tillage tools front and center. I believe that this is a sign of where ag is headed. The general mindset among farmers is shifting toward the idea that we do too much tillage – and we see the real effects of that with runoff, soil erosion, compaction layers, and the impact on soil health. Now, it’s not reasonable to think that every farmer is going to switch to no till in one year. However, it’s a sign of the times as the general consensus continues to change toward the direction of no till as we see tillage companies beginning to switch to showing off minimal tillage systems front and center. We’re going to see more and more of this happen, and I think that this is a promising direction for where agriculture is headed.
2. Carbon markets are still a hot topic, and that’s not changing anytime soon.
Carbon markets have been talked about for a very long time, and while there hasn’t been a huge adoption rate of farmers enrolling in carbon programs, they still are at the forefront of what everyone is talking about in agriculture. Our COO, Brad McDonald, had the opportunity of speaking on behalf of CIBO’s carbon program from the viewpoint of the famer. This event was sponsored by Iowa Corn Growers, and that goes to show you that carbon is real and here to stay. Are these markets perfect? No. Is there a long way to go before farmers who already are implementing soil health practices on their farms can be incentivized for carbon markets? Yes. However, there are so many people (including us at Continuum Ag) working to get this figured out so that farmers can really utilize these as another source of income on their farms.
3. The soil health buzz is growing fast.
From tire companies, to machinery companies, to ag retail and more, people are talking about soil health. This is real, and it can truly help farms to be more profitable and resilient to stress. Regardless of what some people say, you can maintain profitability, you can see the benefits in year one, and you can successfully implement soil health practices on your farm, and we’re here to help you on that journey!
Agriculture is in a very exciting spot. For farmers wanting to shift their focus to regenerative agriculture, there are some real opportunities coming up soon that could help take the farm to the next level. The question is, are you willing to take advantage of these opportunities and join now, or are you going to be behind the curve? It’s up to you!