"The future is going to be automation"

"The future is going to be automation — there's no question about it," Paul Mastronardi said at a virtual conference sponsored by Bayer AG on the future of farming. "It isn't going to change overnight; we're talking about a decade before we see a major shift in what's happening. But I believe technology is going to be the key to the harvesting and growing of the crops."

His brother-in-law Kevin Safrance, executive vice chairman of Mastronardi Produce, told the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee the same month. "One greenhouse worker can harvest the equivalent to 37 traditional field farmworkers. Despite our farms being climate controlled and the day-to-day work being done without being subject to the harsh elements, greenhouse farms struggle to attract and maintain a stable workforce," he said.

Mastronardi's Maroa and Pepperco Farms in Coldwater each month are on the list of job openings for MichiganWorks. "Whenever we are unable to find those qualified workers, we are forced to turn to contractors or the H-2A program," Safrance said.

"CEA farming permits the grower to control and monitor virtually all of the elements of the environment, from the nutrients the plants receive to advanced computer systems with hundreds of thousands of data points to control and adjust, humidity, temperature, light, climate and other environmental factors," Safrance said.

Read the complete article at www.eu.thedailyreporter.com.


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