Monarch Tractor continued its rapid ascension in the AgTech space, sparking the imaginations of visionary farmers from across the globe and garnering multiple live television interviews at the 2018 World Ag Expo in Tulare, California.
The world’s largest outdoor agricultural exposition, which is held annually at the International Agri-Center in Tulare, connected more than 100,000 farmers with hundreds of agriculture equipment companies from around the world. Monarch Tractor emerged as one of the most talked about companies at the event, and interestingly, it’s all because of what we’re not…
Most of this year’s World Ag Expo served as a showcase of agricultural equipment refined over decades for already mechanized crops or farming processes. Entire sections of the event were dedicated to one farming process, filled with a dozen OEM’s showcasing their respective product solutions often featuring subtle design changes touted as “innovation”. In spite of the rampant commoditization of ag equipment on display, there was some exciting technology to be seen (GUSS, for example: gussag.com). But, the truly exciting revelation for Monarch Tractor was learning that farmers had come looking for solutions that don’t yet exist, and, they’re aware their problems can actually be solved using technologies outside the ag space.
In stark contrast to most product companies at the Ag Expo, Monarch Tractor showcased our ability to use enabling technologies, like robots, to solve problems that no other product at the expo had solved. Farmers of varying backgrounds & technical proficiency all came into the Monarch booth to inquire about our adaptive gripper robot demonstration. They came with ubiquitous labor scarcity problems, asking very specific questions you don’t normally hear from farmers. “Can I use machine vision or does it make sense to use artificial intelligence?”, or “Can you put LiDar on your electric tractor to make it autonomous?”, or “The robot needs to remove the apples with a specific twisting motion, like this…”.
To the latter statement, our continued emphasis on collaborative development with AgTech clients marries their insights and experience with our unique technology development process, and it has already resulted in project success in transplanting and food processing. We find that our AgTech clients possess an incredible wealth of knowledge, often times multi-generational, that can be cleverly leveraged to develop “impossible” systems like harvesting robots for olives, iceberg lettuce, or apples. We’re more excited still that some of these visionary Ag Expo farmers have already agreed to engage with Monarch Tractor on new AgTech efforts for this season. While this year was Monarch Tractor’s first Ag Expo, we are excited about the various technologies and success to be showcased at the 2019 & 2020 World Ag Expos and hope to meet and collaborate with more visionaries in the Ag Tech arena.