How Will Cannabis Technology Change Traditional Farming?
by: Darren Roberts, CEO - Green Mile Holdings, LLC
Farming has seen its fair share of innovations since the dawn of the industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries. The 20th century brought some significant innovations in the form of pesticides and crop rotations to name a few. But it wasn’t until cannabis legalization cropped up and the Farm Bill was signed into law in 2018 that agriculturalists started taking notice into how cannabis farmers were using technology to optimize their harvests.
With 3 billion more mouths to feed by 2050, many farmers are looking for any innovation they can use to have a more plentiful, efficient, sustainable, and resilient harvests. Marijuana growers have developed farming technologies that have made organic, indoor and urban farming possible. These technologies and practices are rapidly being replicated and adopted to more mainstream agriculture to help feed the world more effectively in the future.
Sustainable Modern Farming Innovations
Farmers have always been interested in ways to maximize yields while decreasing the likelihood of crop failure or famine. While some of the innovations that have been developed in the past have come directly from the mainstream agriculture community, many of the most innovative farming techniques that are now deemed to be eco-friendly can be attributed to marijuana farmers.
For one, cannabis growers were the first to introduce organic farming which nixes the use of pesticides that are not only harmful to the environment and the plants, but also to the world’s population. Cannabis growers were also responsible for introducing LED lights for indoor farming which were previously only used in laboratories and universities in experiments with indoor agriculture. While developing sustainable and eco-friendly farming methods was not always the goal for marijuana growers, the unintended side effects have resulted in the development of technologies that are well received by environmentalists.
Cannabis Cultivation Technologies
There has certainly been a surge in marijuana technology that is helping produce better crops, ensure the highest safety standards, connect consumers and cannabis businesses, and provide a variety of new options for consumption. The temperamental nature of marijuana plants requires a plethora of attention to the smallest details while maintaining a rigid schedule of watering, sunlight, and soil maintenance. Thankfully, connected technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) has given marijuana growers the ability to accurately and adequately monitor the manipulate environments specifically for optimizing their canopy growth.
With a connecting growing system, growers have been able to add thermostats, temperature controls, humidity sensors and controls that allow them to schedule their growth cycles to maximize yield and minimize the loss of viable plants.
These connected technologies allow growers to predict and control optimal conditions that keep plants in both the growing and blooming stages. This is incredibly important, especially for marijuana growers, as they are under stringent pharmaceutical-grade requirements that require them to produce the same plants, harvest-after-harvest, within an acceptable margin of error of quality control. As marijuana growers continue forward to produce the next generation of agriculture technology, many mainstream farmers may soon follow suit and use the technologies and practices on their crops to increase yield and productivity per-square-foot while reducing operational cost. Only time will tell, of course, but when you know that there will be 3 billion more mouths to feed in 30 years and there is a valid solution to your yield conundrum via cannabis technology, it wouldn’t hurt to try the tech out.
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