AgTech Summit Celebrates Technology, Discusses Skilled Labor Shortage

Oct 1, 2018

Indiana farmers say high-tech agriculture has helped them be more profitable, but it also poses challenges. Some farms say it’s become difficult to find skilled employees who can use modern equipment.

Farmer Jim Kline says for his farm, he’s put up signs on every corner advertising that he’s hiring. But he says training someone on today’s equipment takes longer than it previously did.

“When I started farming, we spent four or five, maybe six hours training somebody to run piece of equipment,” says Kline. “Now we spend a season.”

Kline and two other panelists spoke at the Forbes AgTech Summit in Indianapolis discussing how innovations are impacting farmers’ earnings, though Kilne says the problems finding qualified workers may be solved by tech.

“With the problems we’re having finding labor, I think it will be driverless tractors; I think it’ll be autonomized implements,” Kline says.

Farm equipment manufacturer John Deere has released a combine that automates some aspect of production, but still requires a human operator inside the vehicle.