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Sustainable farming - tech takes lead

Sustainable farming - tech takes lead

By Andi Anderson

Acknowledging the necessity of a transition to cleaner energy production and usage is only a starting point to help companies in the agriculture and business sectors, several speakers at the annual Indiana Climate Summit said.

Leaders from various businesses and advocacy groups stressed that with the proliferation of technologies like artificial intelligence, unique opportunities exist to help farmers make environmentally sound decisions in every aspect of their work.

Claudia Roessler, director of agriculture at Microsoft, noted that technology adoption in agriculture has been slow over the last 10-15 years, but this trend is changing.

Microsoft is working with companies to help farmers implement AI technology to record growing patterns, monitor weather conditions, and provide other essential data. Roessler emphasized that this data is vital for informing environmentally responsible decisions.

“It’s about helping to reduce those inputs, making better, more granular decisions,” she said, highlighting smart irrigation as a method to reduce water usage and promote sustainable farming practices.

Other speakers noted the significant impact of agriculture on the global economy and efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Chris Cook, an executive at Syngenta, a multinational agricultural technology company, described agriculture as "one of the most important frontiers for conservation around the globe." Syngenta collaborates with farmers worldwide to improve crop productivity and research safer, environmentally friendly growing methods.

Cook emphasized that with the world’s population expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050, farmers must lead the way in developing production protocols that benefit both the environment and their profitability.

He discussed the importance of managing transportation, keeping products fresher longer, and producing closer to markets to reduce food waste.

Summit organizers asserted that environmental responsibility and increased profitability are interconnected.

They cited a Morgan Stanley survey of over 300 companies across various industries, revealing that more than 80% view greater sustainability as a potential driver of increased revenue.

“The energy transition is here,” said Sarah Beth Aubrey, a summit organizer and CEO of the Envoy Group, a consulting firm specializing in agriculture, energy, and sustainability issues.

“Even our friends in the fossil fuel industry recognize and embrace that. We must ask ourselves: What is our buy-in on these issues, and what are we going to do to bring about workable, practical solutions?”

The summit highlighted that adopting innovative technologies and sustainable practices in agriculture is crucial for future environmental health and economic growth.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-awakr10

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Categories: Indiana, Sustainable Agriculture

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