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John Deere Showcases Ag Tech at the Consumer Electronics Show
When people think of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), or even about the technology space in general, they don’t typically think of agriculture. Returning for a second year as an exhibitor at the world’s largest technology event, John Deere is working to change that perception as it continues to build technology into its DNA.
“Exhibiting at CES gives John Deere a great opportunity to advocate on behalf of farmers,” says Doug Sauder, director of applied intelligence for John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group (ISG). “It also allows us to educate the technology industry because most people in urban environments aren’t connected to the source of their food and don’t necessarily have an appreciation for the role technology plays in agriculture to solve some of the big challenges we face.”
From its R4038 self-propelled sprayer equipped with advanced technology and fitted with an ultra-wide 120-foot carbon-fiber boom to hands-on displays, Deere wants to engage those outside of our industry by bringing agriculture to life in a more meaningful way.
“The toy replica display is one of my favorites because it is a really simple way to visualize and help explain some of the key pieces of equipment used to grow a crop during the season,” he says.
Exhibiting at CES 2020 also helps John Deere stay connected to technology advancements and bring the best solutions possible to enhance farm productivity, profitability, and sustainability.
A Powerful Addition
While much of John Deere’s display remained the same from year one to year two, one noticeable change was inviting farmers Jeremy and Elizabeth Jack (Silent Shade Planting Company) and John Deere dealer Wade Litton (Wade Incorporated) to share how food is produced and the important role technology plays and will continue to play in growing and harvesting food.
“By bringing farmers and a dealer into the mix, we’re not just saying this technology really helps our customers. Attendees can hear it directly from them. The three of them have been a really powerful addition from day one of the show,” Sauder says.
“There is so much technology in farming today, and we’re here to tell people how it works in our day-to-day life on the farm,” says Jeremy Jack, a second-generation farmer who grows cotton, corn, soybeans, rice, peanuts, and wheat.
Located in Belzoni, Mississippi, the family has been recognized for its forward-thinking agricultural practices and its focus on sustainability.
“My father and grandfather were always big on technology and were both very visionary on what technology would allow us to do in our operation,” says Jeremy. “Our being here also gives us the opportunity to see what could be coming in the future, so we can try to wrap our heads around it and make plans for it.”
“Although Jeremy’s dad, Willard, is not at CES, I know he is grinning from ear to ear that we are here talking about how we are using technology in our operation,” says Elizabeth Jack. “It’s what he based the company on and what he trained Jeremy and his sister, Stacie Koger, on to continuously improve the operation. This is exactly where Willard would want us to be.”
Leaders in Innovation
The technology industry is also taking notice of Deere’s presence at CES. In November 2019, the company was honored for its new 8RX tractor in the “Tech for a Better World” category of the 2020 CES Innovation Awards. This category recognizes consumer technology products that impact society and the world in a positive way.
“The 8RX is a high-horsepower row-crop tractor with four tracks that integrates smart technology in a user-friendly design,” says Bernhard Haas, senior vice president of Deere’s Global Tractor Platform. “This award recognizes our focus on innovation in precision agriculture that enables farmers to increase productivity as they meet the challenge of feeding the rapidly growing global population.”
The company plans to showcase the award at select farm shows in the coming year.
“We didn’t win this award on our own,” says Cyndee Smiley, John Deere media relations manager. “Deere may have the technology, but if farmers don’t put it to use, then it’s not for the better. We believe it’s really important to let our farmers know how proud we are that they are utilizing our technology.”
So what would blacksmith John Deere think about the company’s evolution more than 150 years later?
“John Deere was an innovator, and innovation is at the core of our DNA. It is unfolding in the 21st century in ways that he probably couldn’t have expected,” says Sauder. “Whether it was the plow that originally opened up the prairie or the type of new opportunities being opened up by technology, I think John Deere would be proud to see that his vision has had such a long-lasting heritage of innovation.”