Keeping It Simple

The electronics manufacturer Philips has one of those interesting ad campaigns that it is using to define itself as a company and the products it makes. Each ad features one quotation in large type, with an explanation of what it means in terms of Philips products philosophy — in this case the reference is to MRI machines.

I have the one above hanging in my cubicle, which is actually just a slightly more ellegant way of saying, “keep it simple.” The not so subtle message to my crew is, let’s try to solve the problems we face by removing layers and making what we do as “plug and play” as possible.

And it seems I am not alone in recognizing the need for improved simplicity. I gave a talk last month in Nebraska on precision trends, and had a chance to talk to many experts in advance as I prepared the major talking points. The clear message across the board is that growers who use precision are exhausted. From data management to equipment compatibility, growers who are using precision technology still, in general, have to work too hard to get to a prescription that brings them comfort.

That’s not to say that it hasn’t improved over the years, because it certainly has. And as the Internet becomes more widely available at a higher speed and through different channels such as cellular networks, growers will get easier and more centralized access to data — and maybe sooner than we think.

Simpler systems will also bring more precision technology users into the fold, and that will push US agriculture toward the level of efficiency and stewardship we’ll need to deliver more food, and safer food, to a growing global market.

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