Note - Farm As A Service

> 2022-10-20

As a followup to a post regarding U.S. farming exceptionalism [1], specific targets for farming improvements are laid out here. These proposals apply specifically to small acreage farms. [2]

Small acreage farms

As discussed in the original piece, these farms (classified by the USDA as having 10 or fewer acres) benefit from positioning themselves in highly niche products or product lifecycle stages. Additionally, introducing GMOs would help to boost small crop resillience and yield. As of 2014, farms of this size only need $10k GCFI to break even.

Servicified hardware

For small farms, equipment costs are high while utilization is low. A 2021 estimate has machinery costs rising ~15% from 2017 to 2021 [3]. Pushing towards a “servicified” approach, through digitized custom applicators and harvesters where equipment and labor is rented, addresses both problems.

Inter-farm orchestration

Leveraging software, larger “synthetic” farms could be created between many smaller farms with each focusing on niche products or lifecycle stages. Doing so, especially sharing equipment overhead, would benefit from economies of scale while ideally boosting each individual farm into the highest small acreage farm GCFI bracket (>$500k).

Field digital twin

Using IoT devices and an integrated software platform, a subscribable and queryable API could be created for the fields that the farmers control. Essentially, they would populate the database by maintaining the data collection hardware.

More data from the farmer improves their integration and orchestration across all connected farms.

Another way of looking at this is farmers providing more data allows service providers to be more effective and efficient. Field-driven actions.

Enclosed growth platforms

Small farms could establish enclosed barns or crops for better control over their products even on a small land footprint. This also allows for robotics to be introduced further reducing labor costs which is essential as farm labor is increasingly sparse.

Taking this approach may also allow farmers to increase crop growth through intensive growing or manipulated blooms. It also allows for maximum fertilizer control which avoids unecessary expenditures and damaging runoff.

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