Climate change, population growth, and increasing concern over food security have driven the agriculture sector to hunt for more innovative approaches to improve farming activities and obtain better farming results. While the greatest advancement in agriculture technology is booming all over the world every single day, it’s crucial to understand who will be the charioteer of this agritech revolution that will transform the future of farming.
Technology is already changing the way farms operate, with the widespread use of smartphones and the internet to the last mile of rural India. The IoT-based farming with remote-controlled tractors, drones, and even robots is going to be a new normal of the countryside in the hands of tech-savvy millennials and Gen Z’s.
The millennial generation comprises of those people born between 1982 and 1996 while Gen Z comprises those born between 1997 and 2012. These are the generations that are going to revolutionize the future of farming. Attracting Gen Z to careers in agriculture and farming has the potential to change the shape of the industry. Gen Z and Millennial farmers have the passion to make the world a better place, an entrepreneurial spirit, the desire to explore more opportunities, and the ability to take risks. This stems from a strong desire to make a positive impact while doing an activity they love, this, therefore, makes them a revolutionary generation of modern farming.
They adopt a diverse approach to work and optimize resources and adopt various activities to generate additional income. This results from their exposure to peer motivation, knowledge, and information through the internet and social media. Some of them become farmers because the farms are owned by their families or family corporations. It is often viewed as succession planning, once their parents’ age, these generations take over the farm.
The new era of farmers is not the same as their farm parents they are more of hybrids, a mix of what is true and has been tried from past generations combined with what is better and new. Other young people are inspired to practice farming out of an interest in sustainable farming, organic farming, the local food movement, and novel farming. They are most likely to diversify their crops, limit the use of fertilizer or pesticides, and grow organically, and have an interest in securing the environmental and financial sustainability of farms.
Why the Millennials and Gen Z?
Behavioral differences and similarities between generations are a reality in various areas, the future landscape of agriculture is no exception. Here are some of the common similarities and differences of Millennials and Generation Z when it comes to farming.
The two generations share a key driving factor that is their curiosity towards inventions, technology, and transformation in the agricultural industry.
One of the reasons why both of these generations take up farming is because they are looking for much healthier food that is not contaminated, and want to ensure that farming is safe for the environment and more sustainable. This key character ensures that they use technological advancements and satisfy human needs without costing the environment.
What do they bring to the industry?
Millennial farmers have been open to exploring new ways of operating and are early adopters of new agricultural technology to run their farms more efficiently. This initiative may be expensive, they, therefore, select the ones that are worth investing in trusting that it will pay off in the long run. Generation Z are digital natives, they, therefore, prefer and adopt new technologies with ease and keep an open mind about technological advances and seek to incorporate this factor in their field of work. They have a positive view about agricultural biotechnology advancements and sophisticated technologies such as moisture and temperature sensors, GPS technology, aerial images robotic systems among others.
If agriculture wants its talent and expertise to thrive, harnessing the right people in the right way is crucial, as is understanding their professional wants and needs.
Generation Z has a deeper commitment to be agents of change, they also seem to have a sufficient understanding of the issues that revolve around agriculture and the government. They have a little more confidence in these institutions and what the institutions can achieve for the advancement of the agricultural industry, while Millennial farmers and older generations have their reservations when it comes to government participation in these matters.
What entails their expectations?
The farm successions expectations are hardly the same, as discussed earlier millennial farmers often take over the family farms after their parents’ age. In contrast, almost half of generation Z desire to take over the family business the others are keeping their options open either by considering working in other fields or attaining agriculture-related degrees which would allow them to remain involved in the agricultural industry while and being a little more financially secure at the same time.
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Sowing the seeds of the future
Given the vital role that agriculture serves in strengthening the economy and feeding the world, this industry must continue to attract Millennials and Gen Z to its related professions. Millennials and Gen Z have the potential for success in food production from the standpoint of entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology adoption. Experts believe millennials are well poised to bridge the gap between complex issues, such as rural versus urban, conventional versus organic, and local versus import, that is currently polarizing the production agriculture sector.
Highly educated and socially conscious young people are eternal optimists about their ability to combine family tradition with new technology, to sustainably feed the world with a safe and affordable food supply.