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.
SmartFarm in the news
Bringing the ANR Initiative to life
In April 2018, the Virginia Agriculture and Natural Resources Summit brought stakeholders together to discuss solutions and identify resources needed to create jobs around the commonwealth, increase value for stakeholders, and develop a strong workforce.
Among the ideas that emerged from two days of dialogue were: the need to develop innovative technologies for farms, public lands and resource management; increase networking opportunities between ANR industries and Virginia Tech; address workforce challenges in the ANR sectors; expand partnerships among the university, ANR industries, and the government; and develop a more modern transportation infrastructure for ANR.
The SmartFarm Innovation Network is a direct response to those calls to action.
"Core to Novozymes’ purpose is connecting with partners to solve the world’s biggest problems, such as food security for a growing global population. A Virginia Tech Smartfarm Innovation Network that is well-funded and has a wide scope would be an excellent resource to help us realize this purpose."
Chris McDowell, Ph.D.
Novozymes Biologicals, Inc.