Smart Farms: A Validation & Demonstration Tool
CAAIN is supporting the development of a nationwide network of smart farms. Simply put, smart farms are where the latest agricultural knowledge and technology can be validated, demonstrated to producers, and used as a teaching tool for the next generation of farmers who will then know from first-hand experience how certain technologies can impact agriculture.
Imagine the challenge of farmers who want to explore technological opportunities but are unsure how to proceed without incurring major financial risk. Now imagine a facility that incorporates the advanced tools the producers are considering—GPS, real-time soil, pest, and disease monitoring, data analysis, and autonomous machinery. Such an operation offers producers real-world demonstrations of technology, thereby significantly mitigating the risk associated with its adoption.
The smart farm projects of we support tend—but aren’t required—to involve post-secondary institutions. This is by design. Tomorrow’s producers must graduate from colleges and universities with an appreciation of, and comfort with, technology, as well as expertise in agriculture. That dual stream requires hands-on learning, and smart farms provide that opportunity.
CAAIN’s Definition of Smart Farms
Specifically, we define smart farms as being agricultural facilities where the latest knowledge and/or technology are evaluated in a relevant environment to determine their ability to improve productivity and profitability. To be considered for CAAIN funding, a smart farm and its operator must meet the following criteria: