What Green Technologies Are Farmers Using?

Like many eco-minded people, you might use several high-tech and planet-friendly products in your everyday life. Possibilities range from biodegradable trash bags to energy-saving light bulbs. Below, let’s take a look at something else you’re probably exposed to every day in some form: fresh produce farmed on properties of all sizes.

A nonprofit solar co-op says solar power is now inexpensive enough to make economic sense for West Virginia farmers. (WV SUN)

Solar-Powered Farms Are Becoming More Feasible

Not surprisingly, farms tend to use a lot of power, and many farmers pay much more than they’d like in monthly utility bills. However, a West Virginia co-op initiated by West Virginia SUN is making it easier for people in the farming industry to take advantage of tax breaks and other incentives that reportedly reduce the cost of installing solar equipment as much as 50 percent.

So far, only a small number of farms have become solar equipped with help from West Virginia SUN, but now that the resource exists, more farmers might decide to make investments. Solar arrays can last for decades and significantly cut power bills. Many Amish communities are even beginning to us solar power to make an independent, sustainable lifestyle possible. The cost efficiency and sustainability might prove especially attractive once farmers hear about people in their communities who have tapped into solar power’s promise.

Monitoring Water Usage With a Cloud-Based Mobile App

All living things need water to survive.

It’s especially important on a farm, where improper use of water could adversely affect crop yields and, subsequently, farmers’ profits.

SCADAfarm represents technology powered by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) that lets farmers watch and manipulate irrigation pumps spread over substantial geographic areas that include multiple farms. By using a complementing app that works on computers or portable devices, farmers can do essential, water-related tasks from afar, such as check soil moisture level s, turn water supplies on and off and alter watering depths.

Information is also provided via GPS mapping and meteorological data. This insight could help farmers plan whether they might need to make changes to water distribution specifics through the SCADAfarm system. Since the system captures data across certain time periods, farmers can also review performance-related statistics.

Growing Organic Veggies at Home Is Much Easier

Although the first two technologies you learned about were focused on large-scale farms, don’t forget that some farmers merely enter the industry to provide their families, friends and neighbors with fresh produce, not necessarily to support entire careers. That’s where a streamlined, ultra-efficient growing system called the OGarden comes into play.

Using the OGarden, it’s possible to grow fresh, organic vegetables at home in a compact setup after about a 30- to 40-day harvest period. When the OGarden is full, it holds about 80 plants at a time. According to the manufacturer, this means a person could have a continuous supply of two to four vegetables a day and only have to do five minutes of daily maintenance — while using a method that’s 98 percent less polluting than conventional agriculture.

With their roots inside an organic mixture that gives nourishment, the plants grow within a lighted wheel. The manufacturer also claims this method of growing vegetables is 10 times cheaper than buying them in grocery stores.

It’s definitely a nearly hassle-free way of farming since taking care of the plants only requires watering them periodically. If you’re looking for a way to adopt a healthy diet that’s more sustainable because you don’t have to drive to get your veggies, this gadget might be a smart investment.

This brief overview of emerging, fascinating farming technologies should make you feel excited about the time we’re living in and anticipating what’s to come. Farming as we know it could become uprooted, thanks to the things mentioned here and others.


Emily Folk is a freelance writer and blogger from Lancaster, PA. She covers topics in conservation, sustainability and renewable energy. To see her latest posts, check out her blog Conservation Folks, or follow her on Twitter!