Big technology changes in America’s perhaps most traditional business model

September 15th, 1965:  Green Acres kicked off what would become a 6 year run on the CBS network.  Even though Green Acres was created by Jay Sommers as a companion series to his already existing Petticoat Junction, the new show wasn’t really like anything else on-air at the time.  Basically a fish-out-of-water story, Green Acres starred Eddie Albert as Oliver Wendell Douglas, former New York City attorney who decides to try living the genteel farming life. But as soon as he and his wife Lisa, played by Eva Gabor, join the the extraordinarily eccentric denizens of the rural community of Hooterville, hijinks ensue.

Real farming and the fantasy farming at Green Acres couldn’t have been more different at the time, and the comparison is less accurate but perhaps more fantastic today.  Don’t believe it? Walk away from the world ofArnold Ziffel, the TV watching-pig, and enter a fantastical world of self-driving vehicles, GPS mapping apps, and cloud data. The world of precision agriculture.

By combining the Global Position System (GPS) with geographic information systems (GIS), today’s modern farmer uses technology that couples real-time data collection stored in the cloud with accurate data analysis. That leads to better farm planning, field mapping, soil sampling, and yield mapping, just to name a few benefits.

Tractors, and other farm equipment, can drive themselves. While the technology behind self-steering cars is new and appears to still be working out some (potentially life-threatening) bugs, tractors steered by GPS to follow exact pathways that are accurate to a matter of inches is already tried and true technology, according to an annual survey by Purdue University’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business. Sensors detect everything from where the machine is to what the crop conditions are at that location. The farmer monitors the progress of planting or harvesting from an iPad, with the tractor serving as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot.

As Matt Darr, Iowa State University Agricultural engineer remarked, that although many are currently “excited about what’s happening with autonomous vehicles … agriculture has been using (this technology) in food production in the US for going on two decades now.” And it’s been adopted at a huge rate: Darr reports that over three-fourths of the acres farmed in Iowa are already managed under location technology – without most of us non-farming folks ever having heard anything about it.

Green Acres it ain’t. Except, perhaps, in the sense that acres of crops can be made even greener through technology.

And the biggest surprise may be the real players in this arena — not the usual tech suspects like Apple or Google — but traditional agricultural machinery manufacturers like John DeereFujitsu, and New Holland.  Why?


It’s no secret that farming has always been a tough game, and has gotten only tougher in the last couple of decades.  Farm machinery manufacturers depend on offering a tech advantage to achieve growth.

As stated by (a site dedicated to giving farmers information about the latest in precision farming tech):

Despite, or perhaps in part because of the ongoing downturn in the ag market, dealers continue to pursue alternative, sustainable sources of precision revenue to compensate for declining or stagnating hardware sales.

John Deere (and other manufactures) is, and has been, on technology’s cutting-edge because a changing market demands products that can work smarter in order to work harder.

Your business may not require a tractor that drives itself (or a pig that watches television, for that matter), but the fantastic is making a big impact on the business of today.

The technology that drives the tractor, improves efficiency, and increases the yield on the farmer’s investment runs on data. Lots of data.

The ability to collect, manage and analyze data gives greater visibility on the components that make your business run. Better visibility means better decision-making capability.  And, just like on a farm, better decisions mean better efficiency, yields, and profits for you.

5i Solutions Inc. can help you collect and navigate your data.

5i Solutions tailors precise, advanced, intelligent business technology solutions to meet your specific business needs.

  • Convert paper to digital ‘smart data’ for easy access and analysis
  • Find any document, or any piece of any document, with simple search parameters.
  • Keep your data in the Cloud: available at anytime from anywhere – from an airline terminal, to an office desk, to the front seat of a tractor.

And security of your data is built in — the 5i Cloud Vault offers encryption, network security, key management, custom-built identity verification and access control keeps your data safe, 24/7/365.

5i Solutions.  Innovative Ideas for Intelligent Interaction with Information.

5i Solutions.  One single, secure point of intake, access, and storage.  One singular solution.

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