Young farmers, getting smarter
Keen on innovation, competent and linked: this is the profile of young Italian agricultural entrepreneurs outlined by a survey conducted by Edagricole and Nomisma in collaboration with Bayer, presented online on 4 February during the event "Towards a younger and smarter agriculture".
The data collected in 2020 and processed by Nomisma focused on the propensity of young people to innovate, in a survey focused on new technologies and the frontiers of sustainable agriculture that gathered the opinions of 458 farms. The survey revealed that entrepreneurs use the internet as their main source of information (43%), but they do not abandon reading specialist magazines (29%) and continue to attend industry events (26%). Almost half of the respondents, 45%, use at least one 4.0 technology, and 19% of them use more than one. Among those who choose smart farming solutions, the most used are accounting apps (23%), followed by variable rate equipment (14%), while weather stations and decision support systems (DSS) are used by 14%. Farmers' objectives in using 4.0 systems are to achieve environmental sustainability, management efficiency, cost containment and production enhancement.
Furthermore, the survey shows that 69% of the sample is ready to use Tea (plant genome biotechnology), if it were allowed in Italy, and 57% of them would do so with the aim of improving resistance to diseases and pests and to boost plant productivity.
Young farmers - it was said during the meeting - are the most effective resource to achieve the goal of a smarter & greener agriculture in line with the objectives outlined by the European Union with the Green New Deal, with the strategies "Biodiversity 2030" and "From Farm to Fork" and with the "Next Generation EU". The survey shows that it is the new generation that is spreading the paradigm of agriculture 4.0; at the same time it is digital farming itself that is triggering the necessary generational change in the primary sector. A dual evolution favoured by the digital natives' predisposition to innovation, better connectivity and the availability of new smart, effective and intuitive devices.
by Emanuele Bredice