No tractor without GPS, no milking machine without daily data transmission. Farmers are smart enough to know about the opportunities digitization offers them. What they lack is a data connection.
Insufficient digital infrastructure in rural areas hinders the digitization of agriculture – this is something both the digital association Bitkom and the German Farmers' Association (DBV) agree on. Both are therefore urging politicians to fill the gaps in rural broadband expansion as soon as possible. "Modern agriculture is only possible if digital technologies can be better utilized. This requires infrastructure fit for the future in rural areas," says Bitkom CEO Dr. Bernhard Rohleder.
From milking robots in dairy farming through to big data precision agriculture in the fields – farmers are in the midst of a rapid development of digital technology towards Agriculture 4.0. More than one out of two of people in the industry are already using digital solutions, as a representative Bitkom/DBV survey of 521 farmers and contractors shows. Almost simultaneously, the CDU/CSU parliamentary group presented a position paper on smart farming, which also sees the widespread availability of broadband network technologies (fiberglass, 5G etc.) as constituting the key to digitization. From the perspective of the politicians, Agriculture 4.0 offers not only productivity benefits, but also better resource efficiency as well as new opportunities for "transparency and traceability in the production of food."