Last year, America’s farms contributed $136.1 billion to the economy, and by 2050, global food production will climb 70%. It’s nearly impossible to envision how much produce is grown on fields and farms across the country. With fruits and vegetables lining rows upon rows of earth, how do farmers oversee their operations to feed a growing population in the face of unpredictable climate conditions?

Agriculture is on the precipice of digital transformation as agriculture technology, or AgTech, becomes prevalent. Technologies including IoT-based temperature and moisture sensors, robots, drones, GPS, phase tracking, and predictive software analysis are all tools for smarter farming, enabling farmers to make informed decisions based on real-time data. 

Amidst this backdrop of innovation, voice technology emerges as an under-explored tool for agricultural professionals. The ability to be built into nearly any software platform or device makes it ideal for integration within AgTech systems to automate tasks or glean data, and its hands-free capabilities assist those in the field who need to record information instantly. 

Here are several ways that voice technology can transform agriculture operations.

Building the Automated Smart Farm

With these advanced AgTech systems building the smart farm of the future, voice can automate tasks with a few simple commands.

Farmers can turn systems and machines on and off or even complete functions like adjusting irrigation, temperature, nutrients, and other factors remotely.

Not only does this help farmers be more efficient if they’re occupied with another project or activity, but it also allows them to consistently keep an eye on their farms when they’re on-the-go, ensuring they can tend to crop needs at any time.

For example, Autogrow, an AgTech company that builds automated greenhouses, leveraged an Alexa skill so that farmers can ask questions related to electrical conductivity, pH, humidity, temperature, and light readings to gain insight into the farming environment. They can even perform tasks via the skill like forcing a nutrient dose if necessary.

Similarly, a Korean smart farm allows farmers to use voice commands on their phones to remotely adjust the temperature and humidity of their greenhouses. With tablets and phones becoming the core control component for many smart farm technologies, we see applications integrating voice for farmers to quickly check on their crops and make adjustments based on the information they receive.

Delivering Decision Intelligence

Countless factors inform the decisions that farmers make when cultivating acres of different types of crops, each with their own ideal growing conditions. Paired with unpredictable weather conditions, farmers need to ensure they have access to updated information. As a result, voice can provide key data on temperature, rain probability, wind speed, personal and machine availability, and more so farmers can coordinate resources efficiently and make informed decisions.

To leverage existing systems, voice AI can also pull data from AgTech infrastructure that utilizes sophisticated features that monitor conditions in real time.

Smart Ag constructed a smart irrigation voice assistant that used soil sensors connected to the cloud to detect soil moisture anomalies in the field. The data was passed to the farmer, who could then ask the assistant about the occurrence or general statistics of the farm. 

Voice technology can also be integrated into a farm’s IT systems to feed crop and farm information instantly to the farmer. For example, a farmer wondering who is on staff to help with a task or if a machine is occupied just has to ask the assistant so they can coordinate resources effectively. 

The Field Assistant

Complex AgTech systems are only now gaining traction, and they’re mostly populating indoor smart farms. However, farmers still need to tend to their fields, which is a labor-intensive task with hands and eyes tied up. The growth process is a long and complex one — not only do crops need to be planted, but they need to be irrigated, fertilized, plowed, weeded, and more. 

Farmers out in the field can enlist voice technology while they inspect their crops and complete other tasks. Because they need to specify frop data related to inspections and location, recording information using pen and paper is time consuming, especially if they have to wait until after the task is completed to input data into their operating system. However, an assistant can help them record data in the moment during the process, which not only is easier but promotes accuracy and efficiency.

Plant the Seeds Now

As the agriculture sector continues to confront new challenges, farmers will need to adopt new technologies that help them take better care of their crops to meet growing production demand. Voice technology is one tool that can help farmers reach these goals. With smart assistants that are tailored for their farm needs and processes, they can make decisions that can help them weather the storms ahead.

If you’re excited about voice and the opportunities discussed here, please reach out at hello@rain.agency. We’d love to discuss your challenges and build a blueprint for voice-enabling your workforce.