Will A.I. replace farmers or give them an edge?

farmer standing in a wheat field using AI farming drone controller

It seems like we read about bizarre uses for Artificial intelligence (A.I.) every day, but what practical uses do we see in the field, and will A.I. farming help the farmer or replace the farmer entirely? Colin Hurd, CEO of Ames-based MACH, is creating A.I. technology already making its way into Iowa farms.

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Will A.I. Farming Replace Farmers?

Farmers are no stranger to tech. In fact, 90% of US farms, in Hurd’s rough estimation, are already using some form of advanced automation. A.I. Farming will take it a step further, bringing enhanced safety to the field. It will also give farmers the ability to run machines 24/7, even at night. Does that means farmers are out of a job? In fact, the opposite is true.

“I don’t think this will cause farmers to not be in the field. I think what it will actually do is allow them to be in the field more. A lot of times, what I hear from farmers is, ‘I’m stuck in the cab of my tractor all the time. I should be getting out and checking things a lot more than I actually have time to do.” Hurd explains on the show. “In a lot of cases, what you’ll start to see is the relationship between a farmer and his tractor won’t always be physically tied together.”

Hurd sees A.I. farming giving farmers the ability to run their equipment 24 hours, even at night and sees major increases in safety. Farmers will have full control of their machinery but at a safe distance. AI farming will monitor areas for safety, and monitor workers for dangerous conditions, shutting down equipment when it sees life at risk. A.I. farming will give farmers an increase of control but a decrease of physical contact.

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Colin Hurd, CEO of MACH

Headshot of Colin Hurd, CEO of Mach
Colin Hurd, CEO of MACH

Colin Hurd, CEO of MACH says they are developing AI solutions “behind the hitch.” MACH was formed through a partnership of LSA Autonomy and Redshield partnered to form MACH, located in the Ames, Iowa research park.

LSA previously developed technology for autonomous perimeter security and road-side hazard detection. They built tech that would autonomously drive a utility vehicle around the perimeter of a base to check for hazards. The use-case for the farm is evident. Farmers are constantly scanning for hazards, animals, and even people.

Learn more about MACH and their technology at their official website.

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