By 2050 we need to increase food production by 70% to feed the growing population and it can not be done simply by farmers intuition, we need AI. Thankfully Microsoft has developed Farmbeats which uses technology to predict the best times to plant, grow, and harvest for certain crops that reduces waste and increases production. This is an opportunity for us to quite literally get back to our roots and redefine the food production process, even for small businesses.
Impact on the government contracting market
Most of the government contracts for agriculture come in the form of conservation consulting and equipment maintenance. Now with this type of technology IT can get in the game. Through government subsidies for farmers this allows a space for them to create a budget to use this technology and hire a small IT business to maintain, upgrade, and consult on how to improve harvests. By using Farmbeats, the once separate consulting and maintenance contracts are blended and create a new revenue stream that benefits everyone. From my understanding this is not available to be subsidized just yet. However I see an opportunity where small IT businesses can make a large impact in this field and possibly create teaming opportunities that would benefit local and national economy by employing more farmers, IT workers, and producing harvests that will over-exceed the need for more fresh produce.
See how this works at the Dancing Cow farm.