John Deere Executive Offers Sound Advice for AgTech Entrepreneurs

John Deere Executive Offers Sound Advice for AgTech Entrepreneurs John Deere

SeedStar technology at work. Image courtesy of John Deere

Over the next 35 years, the world population is expected to increase by nearly one-third — more than 2 billion people. Providing enough food for these folks, with about the same amount of land and probably less water, is a huge challenge that needs serious attention. This is where agricultural technology comes in.

Farmers rely on four primary support structures: Seed companies, irrigation specialists, chemical and fertilizer companies and heavy equipment dealers. They are not used to dealing with “high-tech.” But it is technology that is needed to increase crop yields and to manage important tasks to support our growing population.

Precision agriculture integrates data into the farming ecosystem allowing farmers to make the best decision about their fields for planting, fertilizing and harvesting crops. John Deere, a multi billion dollar,178-year-old, globally recognized brand in agricultural machinery and now software, is a leading player in AgTech.

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Ron Zink, Director of On-Board Technology, John Deere. Image courtesy Deere & Co.

Ron Zink, Director, On-board Applications, John Deere, leads a business within Deere & Company that leverages mobile and cloud technologies to enable digital farming. Zink is a panelist on  VLAB’s AgTech: Sand Hill Bets on Precision Agriculture event.  As a preview for the event, we asked Zink a few questions. He has the following sound advice for entrepreneurs who are developing AgTech products.

VLAB: What one piece of advice do you have for AgTech entrepreneurs who are entering the market?

Ron Zink: The advice I’d offer is to consider everything. Imagine the detail, precision and care going into a finely tailored suit. Apply that delicate quality of craftsmanship to the challenge of farming fields the size of 438 football fields.

Precision technology is transforming the agricultural industry by empowering farmers with an abundance of information to craft a finely tailored farm. Farmers can quickly pinpoint everything from the exact type of seed being planted to the time and location of planting to the down-to-the-inch distance between seeds across sweeping swaths of land. This level of detail is necessary for the overall future success of the agriculture industry.

VLAB: What agricultural technologies sound most interesting to you and why?

Ron Zink: Farmers equipped with data from precision technology can monitor and impact every stage of a crop’s growth, from seed to root to plant – for rows and rows of plants. Precision technology lets farmers use every square inch of their land to its full capability, minimizing time, costs and intensity of labor, while maximizing revenue and the quality and yield of crops.

USDA data tells us that each American farmer feeds an average of 155 people a year. Throw in the uncontrollable nature of the weather and the fact that your average farm is the size of about 438 football fields, and it’s a no brainer that every farmer needs to be using precision technology to feed more people, feed them with better quality food and simultaneously ease and expand their teams’ operations along the way.


Learn more about this topic on Tuesday, September 15 during our  AgTech: Sand Hill Bets on Precision Agriculture event. We have an exciting event planned with panelists from Kleiner Perkins, AgFunder, John Deere, Blue River Technology,  and OnFarm Systems.

This post was written by Michelle McIntyre. (@FromMichelle) Michelle is a writer on the VLAB (@VLAB) marketing team

By | 2017-05-18T17:47:11+00:00 September 14th, 2015|AgTech|Comments Off on John Deere Executive Offers Sound Advice for AgTech Entrepreneurs

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