Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders. It’s a common phrase, largely because it’s so true.

AEM recognizes the important role today’s students and tomorrow’s workforce will play into the future of our industry. That’s why the Association is continuing its efforts in working with FFA to sponsor Innovation Station, as part of the FFA Blue Room at its National Convention. Previously known as Startup Street, Innovation Station focuses on showing students the innovative technologies and careers that agriculture has to offer.

This year, AEM has gathered a wide variety of companies that cover all aspects of agriculture to take part in the initiative.

“These companies are a great representation as to what agriculture has to offer in terms of innovative and sustainable technology,” said AEM Agricultural Services Manager Austin Gellings. “They all bring in a unique perspective as to what new and exciting technologies agriculture has to offer to the farmer, as well as what careers can be offered to those who want to get involved in ag, but do not necessarily want to farm themselves.”

The participating companies are as follows:

  • Lely offers unique and innovative solutions for dairy farmers with their automated robotic milking systems.
  • Smart Guided Systems brings the world of precision spray technology to specialty crops.
  • Vision Robotics offers a unique vision-based system that can prune, weed, and thin lettuce and other specialty crop plants all autonomously.
  • Pellenc offers a number of unique and innovative solutions for grapes, olives, fruits and orchards.
  • Vermeer offers a perspective into the hay and forage sector with a number of innovative technologies there.
  • Rantizo provides a view into the world of drones and the huge role that those may play in agriculture now and in the future.
  • Farmers Edge brings the perspective of field mapping and yield monitoring systems, a staple of modern precision agriculture and a key for sustainability.
  • Monarch Tractor is helping to lead the way in the quest to find alternative ways to power farm machinery with their battery-powered tractors.

When asked why events like this are important the folks at Farmers Edge put it perfectly, “FFA represents the next generation of ag. Empowering, growing and connecting with this group of leaders aligns directly with our mission of shaping the future of agriculture.”

The students that take part in FFA represent the future farmers, engineers, manufacturers, marketers, agronomists, and every other agriculture related job out there. However, there is so much new technology in agriculture that sometimes students aren’t aware of what’s all available to them if they choose to enter a career in agriculture. As the folks at Lely put it, “As agriculture continues its rapid acceleration towards adopting new technologies and automation, connecting with the next generation of agricultural leaders is an important step. With forums and venues like this, we have the opportunity to engage with and learn alongside these future leaders.”

This is why organizations like FFA are so important. Not only do they help develop these young, bright minds into tomorrow’s leaders, but they also provide a platform for us all as an industry to come together to show these brilliant kids all that ag has to offer. These shows have a lasting impact as well. “This group is always eager to embrace technology and is quick to adapt. We believe it’s important for the farmers of tomorrow to attend the FFA show so they can begin imagining how today’s innovations will evolve and shape the farming industry in the years ahead,” said representatives from Vision Robotics.

Throughout the years, FFA has grown into a brilliant organization that helps prepare students for life after school. They develop these kids into leaders and help provide them with life skills that go beyond the classroom and beyond the farm.

“FFA has grown to represent the future of not just farming itself but the industry as a whole, with a continued focus on educating and preparing the leaders of tomorrow,” said Gellings. “We here at AEM, along with our members, see and understand the value in the work that FFA is doing, and our goals and values align along those of FFA as well. Thus, we continue this important partnership and look forward to doing so for years to come.”

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