Farmers and Ag professionals come together to learn about growing trends in technology

Ag professionals gathered at the USDA Ag Lab to learn about growing trends in the tech space.
Published: May. 2, 2023 at 6:23 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25News Now) - The continued growth of Illinois’ farming community is often considered a calling that is passed down from generation to generation. The industry is drawing new blood.

Farmers and other Agra-business professionals spent Tuesday morning learning about new industry trends at the USDA lab in Peoria.

With 27 million acres of farmland in Illinois and technology quickly advancing, Leigh Ann Brown, the CEO of Morton’s Economic Development Council says the session is designed to help attendees with land management, crop diversification and expanding their AG portfolio, “what can they leverage or lean in to for the next opportunity, whether that’s an off-season option, a new way to harvest, a new demand.”

One of the experts is Pete Fandel, an Agricultural Professor at Illinois Central College.

He says more and more students are becoming interested in this field.

”The growing trend is that more and more students that come into Ag have no farm background or very little exposure to it so that had to change our educational process a little bit,” says Fandel.

He says ICC has 70 acres of tillable land which serve as a working lab space and it is helpful considering 1 in 5 jobs are related to agriculture in the state.

He says this growing trend is driving him and his colleagues to find unique ways to teach students, “we own all of our own farm machinery, so we try to get all the students to learn how to drive a tractor or what a combine looks or how to operate one. You have new ideas and new trends and new ways of thinking about things you never thought about before because they don’t have an Ag background so it’s made for a dynamic educational process.”