US: First San Luis Valley Potato Business Summit focused on economics, future strategies and technology

In the first San Luis Valley Potato Business Summit on Monday in Monte Vista, topics focused more on economics, future strategies and technology than varieties, diseases and rotations. Speakers in what organizers hope to be an annual event talked about markets, the economy, digital agriculture and setting goals for the future. Sterling Liddell with Rabobank, the largest global agricultural lender, discussed economic cycles in relationship to the potato industry. He expects many farmers in future to be looking at alternatives such as doing something else with their land, growing alternative types of crops or getting out of the business entirely. He estimated a little more than 5 percent would be in that last category and discontinue farming in the future. 

Technology is more integral to farming, especially considering that by 2030, about 75 percent of the growers will be people born after the late 1990’s, Liz Hunt from Syngenta told summit attendees. She said there are many options and opportunities as well as advancements such as robotics and sensors. “The digitization of agriculture is happening now,” she said. San Luis Valley rancher and Adams State University professor Armando Valdez spoke to the group about setting and achieving specific goals for their farming businesses. 

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