Are you an Early Adopter of Ag Technology?

Do you know where you fall on this curve? Do you wait in line for hours to get the newest iPhone, or, are you still holding on to your favorite flip phone? As an AgTech company, we must keep these “buckets” of people in mind. There was an article in called, “InfoAg 2019: Farm Data Use Moving From Early Adopters to Mainstream.” In this article, the author states that, “The excitement about using all the data being collected, analyzing it using new tools powered by machine learning feels like it is starting to move from the early adopters experimenting with new tools to a broader swath of the market demanding proven, and tested solutions with a tangible return.”

At 2nd Sight, our first customers who implemented the FairPick Pro over three years ago were “Innovators.” What’s interesting, is that three years later, we are just starting to reach the cusp of “Early Majority” adopters. We’ve had to be patient because we understand that for many people, “proven, and tested solutions with a tangible return” is required to make the sale.

I have no doubt that most farmers are looking for better analytics and reports, ways to boost productivity, enhanced traceability, and improved digital harvest records. During a time with labor shortages and rising input costs, detailed and accurate information should help farmers make more informed decisions in order to increase profitability. However, not all are willing to take a risk to achieve these goals because what you don’t know could be worse than what you do know.

With a plethora of apps, imagery, sensors, automation, and other technology solutions available to farmers, I still wonder when we’ll be able to reach those “Late Majority” adopters with the systems that they need to stay competitive and profitable. Or, will they be left too far behind?

Another interesting note is that I recently compiled a list of our customers using one or more of our scales, handhelds, calipers, or apps. My goal was to define our ideal client. It’s more of a marketing exercise but made me think about this Product Adoption curve. What kind of farm does an Innovator have? How many acres, on average, does an Early Adopter manage? I was surprised to find that Innovators and Early Adopters come in many different shapes and sizes.

The first farms grew blueberries, but not far behind came cherries, and a few farms after that… kiwiberries. Our first season, the average acreage was close to 30, but the 2017 season rolled around and we had orchards with 1000 acres implement our FairPick and FairTrak systems. The same pattern can be seen with nursery size. Purchasing an InstaCaliper made sense for a nursery counting 10,000 trees a year and the nursery measuring 100,000 trees a year.

Geographically, our first customers were in the Pacific Northwest, but pepper growers found us in Ontario Canada and blueberry growers found us in Georgia. I thought maybe the age of the decision-maker would be a common theme. However, we had farmers in their 30’s up to their 70’s making the decision that it was time to implement precision ag tools to keep their operations moving forward.

So, what makes an Innovator or an Early Adopter? Our customers may not all be “tech savvy”, but they are all “tech-ready” and know that in order to come out ahead (or at least stay afloat) in an industry that continues to face more and more challenges, it requires new ways of doing things. Becoming more efficient, cutting costs, and saving time are priorities and how they will stay in business. Another common theme? We call them “product champions”. Each operation has a leader willing to put in that extra effort to implement the technology to ensure that the transition to a new system is a success.

At 2nd Sight, we value innovation. It's not too late. Dare to be an Innovator.