From the editor: Innovation is more than technology
March 14, 2023 by Bree Rody
This is now my third Innovation issue with Manure Manager. Prior to agriculture, I was the editor of a trade publication covering media buying, advertising and broadcasting. In that context, “innovation” meant increased automation in the buying process, layering extensive data to better inform transactions and using platforms like Snapchat to game-ify real life. Naturally, when I did my first innovation issue of Manure Manager, I was stuck on technology. I sought out stories about robotic milking barns and automated tractors.
And don’t get me wrong – all of those things are indeed innovations for farmers and manure applicators alike. However, innovation and technology are not synonymous. There is a reason why this is called the Innovation issue and not the Technology issue.
To innovate is to adapt to your surroundings and conditions as they change. And although agriculture remains one of the U.S. and Canada’s greatest traditions, the world of agriculture is changing rapidly. Climate events are posing greater challenges when it comes to the timing of planting and harvesting and the application of manure. Increased knowledge and scrutiny of matters such as greenhouse gas emissions have given those housing livestock new matters of concern. Economic crises such as supply chain stalls and inflation mean business owners are having to do more with less – or invest in infrastructure that will remain steady amidst economic shifts.
To innovate is to combine proactivity with reactivity, find ways to make the things you are doing more efficient and think ahead. Sometimes, that solution involves data and digital tools (like OMAFRA’s digital Agri-Suite tools, explored in-depth on page 18). Other times, that involves smart investments (like the investments at Homestead Dairy, profiled on page 10). In order to innovate effectively, one needs as much information as possible so that they can make their purchasing, management and application decisions with sound confidence.
As purveyors of information, we recognize that we also have a need to be innovative, proactive and ahead of the curve. That’s part of why we are launching a new agriculture brand at Annex Business Media. Beginning this March, we will begin publishing The Trough, a multi-platform media brand that dives deep into the world of livestock feed, nutrition and additives. If you raise livestock – or if you grow grain – The Trough will provide the essential information on animal health, nutrition and business to help you keep evolving. And, in the name of innovation, we’ll deliver that information through much more than a print magazine. We’ll also publish podcasts, online news, webinars and more.
Adding a new vertical to our remit is our own way of innovating and keeping our readers armed and ready to face whatever challenges come their way in 2023 – and, more importantly, beyond that. •