Generation Z could be the tipping point for agtech

Generation Z could dramatically change the future of technologies used in food production and agriculture.

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Businessman holding a foldable smartphone with GENERATION Z inscription, social media concept
Businessman holding a foldable smartphone with GENERATION Z inscription, social media concept
(ra2studio | BigStock.com)

Generation Z could dramatically change the future of technologies used in food production and agriculture.

This demographic, born between 1996 and 2010, was born into a world where technology is the norm. As a result, they have expectations that products will be convenient and easy to use. 

“For baby boomers, it was always as easy as one, two, three,” LaVona Traywick, an associate professor of physical therapy at the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education explained. “For Generation Z, it has to be as easy as one.”

For example, members of Generation Z want their technology to be fully integrated. They’re not interested in carrying the equivalent of a phone, a camera, a pager and a calculator around, Traywick noted. Instead, they want the agtech equivalent of a smartphone.

In addition, Generation Z doesn’t want to work to master a technology, they want the technology to work for them. And it will play a crucial role in their lives.

“They’ve never been without it. They don’t really know how to function without it, but it has to be easy and it has to be really intuitive,” Traywick added.

Traywick recently co-authored a report on the topic titled Ag Tech Adoption and Generational Characteristics: Benefit-Cost Analysis Revisited.

Automation catches on

Technologies that provide automated guidance for agricultural operations show the greatest promise for improving the quality of life for farmers.

“I think it’s sort of obvious that anytime technology has automated in its name, it tends to be used a lot more than technologies that are purely sensors and gathering data,” said Terry Griffin, co-author of the report and a precision agriculture economist at Kansas State University.

The industry has made the most progress in automating manual and repetitive labor, however further progress is needed to automate management level tasks, such as data analysis.

“To me, that’s going to be the tipping point for big data in agriculture,” he explained.

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