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Sharing ag innovation story beyond the farm

Willie Vogt See & Spray technology on sprayer
HIGH-TECH SPRAYER: See & Spray technology allows for precision application of crop protection products. This is See & Spray Select, introduced in 2021. The See & Spray technology was recently recognized by the Consumer Technology Association with an Innovation Award.
Editor’s travels provide insight into new ideas and help tell ag’s story.

Let’s just say I get to travel a bit. Recently, I was in the wilds of New Mexico riding the new Roxor utility vehicle; then, it was on to Las Vegas to moderate a panel at a space conference about sustainable ag, and I’ll be back to Vegas in January for CES.

The ride in the Roxor utility vehicle wasn’t about innovation, per se. In fact, it showed a capable precision-built machine applying appropriate tech as needed. But it does show the diversity of being an ag journalist these days.

My initial trip to Las Vegas was for Ascend, a conference focused on moving into outer space. During the conference, I moderated the panel “Sustainable Agriculture From Space.” In my role covering ag innovation, I sometimes get asked to guide a discussion, and in this case, I was honored to be part of the second annual event focused on many issues surrounding outer space.

With the help of three distinguished panelists, we discussed just how technologically advanced agriculture has become by looking at precision weather, sustainable agriculture in the U.S. and developing countries, and new ways to raise food through vertical farming.

As an ag journalist, I aim to reach farmers, but often I’m thanked for helping to tell the story of agriculture. However, telling the story beyond agriculture is more challenging, which is one reason I was happy to be part of Ascend, held both live and virtually to a global audience.

Expanding the story

CES, held each January in Las Vegas,  has become another opportunity for telling agriculture’s story. Interesting companies from Bosch to Grov have products on display, and since 2019, John Deere has had exhibit space on the show floor.

When CES went fully virtual in 2021, Deere held a series of sessions to tell its story, working with influencers outside of agriculture.

The same is true for 2022, and John Deere was selected as a CES 2022 Innovation Awards’ Best of Innovation honoree in Robotics and in Vehicle Intelligence and Transportation.

This is the third year John Deere has received an Innovation Award from the Consumer Technology Association. John Deere is an Innovation Award honoree in two categories for its See & Spray technology, which provides precision spraying at speed during crop protection application.

In announcing the award, Deere categorized See & Spray as “a technologically advanced robot for the agriculture industry that leverages computer vision and machine learning to detect the difference between plants and weeds, and target application of herbicide on the weeds.”

The Robotics category of the Innovation Awards highlights programmable or otherwise intelligent machines capable of performing specific tasks. The Vehicle Intelligence and Transportation category highlights automotive and other transportation products and services that integrate technology into the driving and riding experience.

Being recognized for new technology in agriculture brings to light the tools farmers are increasingly using to bring food to the table. And Consumer Technology Association’s recognition of Deere’s innovation brings that news to a broader audience.

A visit to CES is a joy every year and offers a chance to see how technology is changing across a range of areas that impact everyone’s personal lives. Deere’s presence at the event shows those in attendance that agriculture has come a long way.

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