Embrace Technology: Harnessing Innovation to Cultivate More Family Moments
I love having my desk in my hand any time - that smartphone lets me get so much done. I can talk with a client from the corn lot, tell the team to get more bags to pick, email the client an invoice, and schedule delivery from the tractor seat.
And yet, that same blessed phone is tied to me long after I drop it in the charger, and I still unconsciously listen for it to ring and interrupt my night.
With being so accessible and so connected, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and disconnected. How many devices are on in one room at night - TV, everyone has a phone or a laptop… our dog watches TV - because he barks when horses come on the screen.
With everything competing for your attention, it can be hard for families to find time to spend together. Around our farm, we acknowledge that tech is essential - and when included responsibly, it can be a powerful tool for bringing families closer together.
Harnessing the Power of Technology
As the sun rises, the farm is blanketed in a golden glow. The sound of birds chirping and the distant hum of the automated motors are opening the glass greenhouse roofing and is a reassuring reminder of the technology that helps us keep our crops healthy and leaves time for our family moments.
The automated roof opening systems ensures that every plant gets the right amount of rain, sun, and warmth, freeing up more time for us in the day. I used to run up and down every aisle in every greenhouse, flipping switches to open or close the roof and opening or closing side doors because we forgot to drop the temp and needed drastic temperature changes for the crops. It was a lot of work and took hours from each of us on the farm. We would worry into the night if someone forgot to close the roof or forgot to open it and call each other to figure it out. I have turned around more than once as I drove to an event and realized, nope, those doors are open, and we’re going to be late because I have to go back and close them.
Today, I have a small bank of monitors and miles of wire connecting every motor. Those monitors are accessible by my phone. That tech allowed me the peace of mind to know the job is done right, the crops are fine, and I can stay right in the middle of the campsite and have one more ear of corn from the grill before we break the new board game.
Now, you could go the opposite side of that, put dozens of cameras around your home and get obsessed when you are away and constantly check up on the kids, or the front door, or the new chickens in your back yard to the point you miss out on where you are. It’s a balance - and if you are looking for guidance on spending too much time on your phone, ask your wife or your kids, but don’t let them throw the phone in the lake.
Like many, we fantasize about logging in from a beach, answering a few emails, and making a living. I can’t be gone from the animals, plants, and furnaces for long. But my wife can help draft the newsletter, build our product lists for the weekly CSA, and process online orders through her mobile hotspot. This has opened up a whole new world of opportunities, as we can now be more productive, which means we can turn off technology and be present and not have the guilt of things still waiting for us.
We can now attend our children's school assemblies, cheer them on at their awards ceremonies, and spend time together without worrying or feeling overwhelmed. It has so much potential to help us now and in the future, and it doesn’t control us - it supports us.
The Benefits of Embracing Technology
By embracing technology to cultivate more family moments, we've experienced many benefits that have transformed our farm and family life. Here are a few advantages we've discovered:
- Time Efficiency: Technology streamlines farm operations, allowing us to complete tasks more efficiently. This time saved can be redirected towards spending quality moments with our family.
- Flexibility: Remote monitoring tools and online platforms allow us to be present for our family's needs while still tending to the farm. We can attend school events, sports activities, and family outings without compromising the success of our farm.
- Enhanced Communication: Technology enables us to stay connected. Video calls, instant messaging, and social media platforms bridge the distance and allow us to share special moments no matter where we are.
Farming is a way of life that's been around for centuries. It's a tough, demanding job that takes a toll. And it's also a rewarding and fulfilling profession that allows you to connect with the land, the animals, and the people you work with.
In today's world, technology can help us make the most of our time. We can streamline our operations, connect with our customers, and create a more balanced and fulfilling life using apps and online tools to support us, and we put them down at the end of the day.