Younger farm generation finding its path in ag through technology


“I’m data driven.”

That’s the message I’m hearing from young farmers today. Data — and technology — are vital pieces of being successful in agriculture, no matter what kinds of animals or crops you’re raising. Like so many young farmers and ranchers, I was raised in an era of laptops, smartphones, and social media and, from the view in my cab, technology is the most exciting part of being a farmer today.

Imagery in action

Technology gives young farmers a broader world view and an understanding of trends and expectations from consumers. A lot people of my generation are more focused on how to protect the Earth and on how to grow food in the best way possible. Technology, like the satellite images I download, enable me to use less nitrogen and chemicals, and this is great! I can use that imagery to view where we spread cattle manure, and show it my agronomist, so we do not have to apply fertilizer to those areas. It allows us to save resources and reduce the amount of inputs used.

Technology confirms it … I’ve got Big Ears!

Using satellite imagery I‘m able to monitor the biomass of my corn, and I can find the biggest ears of corn in the field. I have a smartphone app that shows the red zones, where biomass is below average, and green zones, where the biomass is above average, and with my phone, I can find the biggest ears in my field. Bottom line: Technology is fun, too!

Setting an example

Young farmers have a great opportunity to use technology to show the older generation how to be more efficient. My dad has been a farmer/rancher for 40 years. And probably like yours, he was often bogged down with paperwork — such as faxes, forms to fill out, and site visits from the insurance office — all the stuff that I can now do digitally.

Some farming parents push back on tech, but my dad lets us do whatever we want — and we’ve been successful getting in him on board with the future. Today, he uses a web-based platform from the house to monitor our vehicles and identify the areas in the field that need attention.

Nowadays, my crop insurance guy can access my FarmCommand platform to access all the information needed about my farm, in real time, from anywhere. This should be appealing to anyone who’s had to drive 60 miles to the nearest insurance office to file a claim!

We ‘get’ tech

I’ve found that young farmers are willing to push tech to its limits. You may buy a certain piece of technology and think it may do just one thing, but when you put it to work, you realize it does more than you expected. Because we “get” tech, it’s easy for us to find a way for tech to reach its full potential.

We aren’t easily duped into buying some kind of “snake oil” solution. We understand that with technology, this generation will reinvent our industry — and if there’s real data to back it up, it’ll probably find a place on my farm.

Tech provides a balance

I’m not saying that I sit home running my farm from my smartphone. What I’m saying is that many young people appreciate finding a balance between farming and managing. That’s what precision ag technology does — it gives you the decision-making tools that keep your farm efficient — and to keep farming exciting.

The premiere of my new video!

I’m proud to premiere my latest YouTube video on . I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to hearing how technology is reaffirming why you chose a career in agriculture!


Derek Klingenberg is a farmer and rancher based in Kansas. He is the founder of Klingenberg Farms Studios where he produces videos of modern farming and ranching on YouTube, which has over 44 million views and 117,000 subscribers. Follow Derek here on YouTube.

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