Down on the 5G farm

The idea of farmers as low-tech workers of the land, not beholden to screen time and connectivity like the rest of society, is antiquated at this point. Much of the ag sphere has been plugged in for some time now, whether it’s sophisticated data collection on big commodity farms or small-scale CSA farmers using social media to plug their fresh veggies. Even trusty old John Deere tractors are front-and-center in a national debate about proprietary technology. Still, a research farm in remote western England recently covered in The Wall Street Journal is pushing the boundaries of what we imagine farm tech to be. Think fully autonomous crop growing and harvesting, powered by robots and drones, ready to embrace our 5G future. As part of a UK-sponsored initiative titled 5G RuralFirst, the Hands Free Farm is looking to research just how robust and efficient farming could be with blisteringly fast networking capabilities. “At the moment, what’s going to stop automation in the rural environment is bad communication networks,” said one of the project’s farmers. It’s only a matter of time.

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