In the farm of the future, drones will fly over forests and crops to communicate with robots embedded in harvesting equipment on the ground. Sensors on livestock, in field crops, and forest lands will be linked to the cloud where big data is transformed into practical information regarding precision feeding, protection, and management decisions. Plants will be biodesigned to require less water and fertilizer and will be tolerant to drought, pests, and floods while producing more food. Farmers will manage their businesses not with tractors, but with iPads.
This is the smartfarm of the future, and Virginia Tech is leading the charge to help local communities thrive and spark a new agricultural and natural resources economy.
The university is embarking on the SmartFarm Innovation Network, a decentralized network of interconnected centers across the commonwealth where Virginia Tech’s interdisciplinary researchers and Virginia Cooperative Extension specialists can partner with industries to develop and deploy innovative technologies to increase overall efficiency, resilience, and sustainability of food, agricultural, and natural resources production systems.