Is connected farming the latest innovation in this world that many have known, or a real revolution? The data harvest raises the question of the technology-induced agricultural model, but also of the financial and material independence of farmers. “Farmers 3.0”, a documentary to be seen this Wednesday 18 January.
The Festival of Lights 2022 in Lyon
It is on YouTube Gilles VK Bauer from Loiret. his channel offers 207 videos and has over 33,000 subscribers. Gilles Van Kampen, his full name IRL (in real life) is one of the many ‘agri-youtubers’ who have thrived on the platform in recent years.
Their purpose: to explain their profession, to reveal behind the scenes so that the general public “have no misconceptions, do not develop irrational fears when you see a tractor in a field.” says Giles.
But for him, like his networked peers, it is above all a way to showcase and test the latest high-tech gadgets they use in their daily lives.
Because this generation of farmers in their 30s and 40s grew up with digital devices and technology. Gilles likes it and uses it to help make decisions.
Mapping, seeding, inputs: so much data that his digital tools collect, which he then uses to manage his 200-hectare farm as finely as possible.
A model of “precision farming,” a concept that appeared in the 2000s concurrently with digital farming tools, allowing fine-grain management of plots to optimize investments and yields.
Video length: 46 sec
Gilles Van Kampen, the connected farmer
©la clairière production/France 3 Pays de la Loire
For their documentary “Farmers 3.0”, Etienne Crépin and Frédéric Schneider delved into the world of agriculture to see the impact of digital technologies on practices.
Their conclusion: Today’s agriculture, like the rest of society, is digital. To varying degrees, of course, but hardware, software, and data have made their way onto farms.
As in the rest of society, the question of uses arises. It becomes even more acute against the background of fears that an industry that is already dependent on the chemical industry and agricultural engineering will also be irrevocably linked to software manufacturers.
In Agriculteurs 3.0 we will listen with interest to the testimonies of Vincent and Laurent Moinard, milk producers in the Vendée.
They have equipped their farm with two robots that manage the milking, collect data on the cows’ performance but also on their health.
A very significant initial financial investment, over €200,000, high maintenance costs, not to mention the repeated mistakes: Vincent and Laurent are now wondering if these robots are working for them or if it’s the other way around…
Video length: 01min 11
the technological investment can be very high
©la clairière production/France 3 Pays de la Loire
The question of the place of technology concerns not only farmers: consumers, who are increasingly concerned about the agricultural model from which the products they buy come, are paying more attention.
But it is precisely here that digital technology favors a new alliance between producer and consumer, proving to be a privileged tool of short-circuit and direct sale.
Etienne Crépin and Frédéric Schneider devote much of their research to the initiative of David Barou, apple producer in Maine-et-Loire, and his colleagues, who created the trading site “Le Baluchon Fermier”.
Fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat, bread: all local, organic, marketed without intermediaries. The consumer pays on the spot and picks up their basket at a designated meeting point.
In contrast to a technology whose costs squeeze the farmer’s margin, digitalization in this case fulfills its role of bringing supply and demand closer together, leaving the manufacturer free to set his price.
An approach that the documentary gives the floor the peasant workshop : a cooperative that distributes open source software and plans to build tools and machines themselves so that farmers can take over and gain material and financial autonomy.
Due to the large number of profiles, anyone watching Farmers 3.0 will find food for thought about the correct use of digital technologies and can assess their benefits or dangers
We can smile at the efforts of Romain, a farmer’s son, who is trying to get prudent farmers to read data by mapping their fields with a drone,”the lightest farm machine you have ever seen‘ he jokes.
We will listen with emotion to another farmer’s son, David, pleading for technologies that bring solutions to relieve the farmer of the administrative tasks that overwhelm him.
David, who did not succeed his ailing father, developed software to better control the crop rotation in the plots, among other things. He implements this software on his parents’ old dairy farm, which Dylan, a young breeder, has just taken over.
Dylan, the lucky man in this documentary, slowly gets on board, but never loses sight of the essentials: in order not to take on all the tasks of the company alone and not to feel isolated, he has hired workers!
“When a cow escapes from the stable“He has fun”,it’s not the robot picking it up !”
Creating a job instead of investing heavily doesn’t mean turning your back on technology. Dylan chose to put people first and use software for what it gets him: save time.
Among other things, he wants to use the time he saves to welcome people to his farm and explain his work to them.”Show them how milking is done” for example.
In real life, not on video.
► “Farmers 3.0”a documentary by Etienne Crépin and Frédéric Schneider, to be seen Wednesday 18 January at midnight on France 3 Pays de la Loire
► See the rerun on france.tv in our collection France in real life
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