Precision farming and digital solutions are transforming European agriculture, making it both more competitive and more sustainable. The technology itself and farmers’ interaction with it, however, rely on seamless mobile connectivity – a challenge in many rural areas. In these video interviews, Ulrich Adam, then Secretary General of the European Agricultural Machinery Association (CEMA), and Maximillian von Löbbecke, CEO of 365FarmNet – a digital farm management platform – explain the versatility, value and impact of precision farming – and how broadband roll-out must meet the growing demand.

Detailed view of green wheat. Title text overlay reads: "Connectivity is essential for precision farming". Vertical banner to the left reads: "BCO Network".

These videos are part of a series of interviews on broadband roll-out in Europe, produced for the European Network of Broadband Competence Offices (BCO Network).

The essence of precision farming is to produce more with less. Simply put, it allows farmers to increase yields while reducing use of water, pesticide, fertiliser, etc. This in turn reduces costs – both financially and in terms of health and environmental impacts.

Using connected tools – such as satellites, GPS, drones and sensors – farmers can monitor and respond to their crops and animals’ precise needs. The accuracy, responsiveness and resource savings that precision farming makes possible are a critical step in ensuring farmers’ ability to sustainably provide for a growing population using diminishing resources and limited land.

While the benefits of precision farming – for the farmer, the consumer, and the environment – are clear, the possibility for farmers to adopt it is stymied by the lack of reliable broadband connectivity in rural areas. In these interviews, below, Mr. Adam and Mr. von Löbbecke explain the “digital ecosystem” of precision farming, underlining how, with the rising uptake of digital farming tools, “we need to make sure that the broadband infrastructure and capacity grow with this increasing demand”.

In this regard, Mr. Adam highlights two European Commission-funded projects that are working in this area:

  • Internet of food and farm 2020, which aims to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the EU farming sector through precision farming and the “Internet of Things” (IoT);
  • and the European Network of Broadband Competence Offices, through which Member States and regions exchange good practices and build their capacity to bring high-speed broadband to all citizens, with a particular focus on rural and remote areas.

For more information on precision farming and agricultural innovation in the EU, explore the Agricultural European Innovation Partnership (EIP-AGRI).

Visit the websites of the European Agricultural Machinery Association (CEMA) and 365FarmNet for further information.

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