Bank Iowa’s second annual survey of Iowa farmers revealed a predominantly positive outlook on the 2023 agricultural economy, with 67% of respondents believing it would be the same or more substantial. The Bank Iowa Ag Index tracks farmer sentiment on various topics, from the economy to on-farm agtech. The index also showed an 18% increase in administrative jobs such as bookkeepers and accountants on farms in 2022. Moreover, over 30% of farmers reported that technology reduced the need for physical labor, but finding the right people to work on farms remained challenging.
The survey indicated that agtech investments are gaining traction among farmers with access to capital. For example, in 2021, only 22% of Iowa farmers considered agtech investments for the following year, while in 2022, nearly 36% considered such investments. In addition, almost every participant in the 2022 survey had implemented agtech within their operation, with automation being the most popular, followed by livestock tech and AI.
Iowa agriculture plays a significant role in the state’s economy and contributes to the United States’ overall agricultural output. As one of the leading agricultural states in the country, Iowa is a top producer of corn, soybeans, pork, and eggs. The state’s fertile soils, favorable weather conditions, and well-developed infrastructure have contributed to its agricultural success. However, despite these advantages, Iowa’s agricultural sector faces several challenges, including susceptibility to extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, which can devastate crop yields and livestock.
Iowa farmers have been trying to adopt more sustainable and innovative farming practices to address these challenges in recent years. The increasing interest in agtech investments, as revealed by the Bank Iowa Ag Index, demonstrates a growing awareness among farmers of the potential benefits technology can offer in improving efficiency, reducing labor costs, and promoting environmental sustainability. Nevertheless, adopting such technologies often requires substantial investments, and not all farmers have equal access to the capital needed to implement these innovations. Furthermore, while advancements in agricultural technology can potentially revolutionize farming in Iowa, it is essential to ensure that adopting new technologies does not exacerbate existing inequalities among farmers or lead to adverse environmental consequences.