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Technology key to securing farm jobs in the future

Hiring Hoosiers
Posted: 5:30 AM, Mar 14, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-14 05:31:10-04

Hiring Hoosiers is a new initiative from RTV6 that works to connect Hoosiers to employment opportunities, career development resources, training programs and educational paths. In our Hiring Hoosiers reports we are taking a closer look at barriers to employment and things that get in the way of people getting the jobs they need to support themselves and their families. For more information, visit HiringHoosiers.com. See new stories weekdays at 6 a.m. on RTV6!

GREENCASTLE — Ray and Heather Poynter have several apps on their iPad and his farm machinery is loaded with monitors and electronics to help with the planting and growing of his crops.

The Putnam County farmer plans to plant 2,800 acres of corn which will take about 5 days and another 2,800 acres of soybeans which will take about 7 days.

This is a family business.

"You're one with Mother Nature you're your own boss," Ray Poynter said.

The Poynters depend on data to make sure their crops survive and make it to market.

"It's caring for what God provided for us it's with family, faith, farming and family is how we feel," Heather Poynter said.

Ray showed RTV6 all the apps on his iPad. The family invests about $5,000 on subscriptions to digital information to help run the farm.

"Everything from chemical application, to planting populations, to harvest data, and aerial imagery and you can tie that all together," he said. "You can see areas in the field that were not producing as well so that you can go to those areas and what do I need to do to improve these areas to make these fields produce more, to be more efficient there might be weed pressure in in those areas. It allows you to be able to see that you know at home sitting up on the computer."

The couple has multiple pieces of equipment loaded with the latest maps and information that allows them to take the guessing out of farming.

"Before the technology came with yield mapping and all of that, it was just a guess," Ray Poynter said. "You would be harvesting your fields and you'd say, 'Yeah this doesn't look quite as good but don't know why.'"

Ray's grandfather and father farmed this land. On the horizon, his two sons know that to compete they will need to deploy the latest in technology to make it to the next century.

"You just have to keep up with technology as it comes out to be the best you can farm," Jonathan Poynter said. "You know inputs, costs and all. You have to keep up with them."

The Poynters work with Illinois-based AgriGold.

The company works with farmers nationwide on how to implement technology into their operations in order to keep farms viable and secure jobs.

"We recently launched advantage acre platform helps farmers work with this technology in the cab in their tractors helping them analyze their data as I mentioned really making the most out of every acre," Kayla Skelton, AgriGold spokesperson, said. "The technology allows us to be more precise and accurate and putting things where we need it and not too much and not a little — just giving the crop what it needs to be the most efficient but not putting too much where it's wasteful and not needed."