By Enrique Pena, 2021-2024 FFAR Fellow
at North Carolina State University

Occasionally, I will read an article that a friend, family member or colleague has shared with me about groundbreaking advancements in agriculture, and it usually starts with a title like “All in one planter: till, seed, and fertilize in a single pass” or “Autonomous tractors! Let a robot farm for you”. I always think, “Wow, this is really cool!” And then, I notice little interest from farmers to adopt these technologies. Despite being available in the marketplace, many of these innovations do not gain enough traction to become normalized in the industry. Drones provide a good example of this, as farmers have been reluctant to invest in these despite the decades the technology has been available. Over time, I have seen the gap widen between the number of innovations breaking into the market and the number of farmers adopting them. Why is this the case? I believe that we, as scientists and innovators, need to improve our communication strategies to boost the adoption of valuable agricultural technologies.

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