- The satellite-based GPS system was first developed by the U.S. Departments of Defense in the 1970s. In the 1990s agricultural engineers began combining on-the-go crop yield readings with GPS tracking to create crop yield maps. (American History Museum)
- March 1996: Then-President Bill Clinton issued a policy directive declaring GPS a dual-use system, allowing for civilian use in addition to the original military use.
- Mid-2000s: Mobile phones that made use of significant data connectivity start to become more common and accessible in the U.S. and Canada, with many following the Blackberry in terms of physical design (no flip capability, physical QWERTY keyboard).
Software (record-keeping, data collection)
- Record-keeping in agriculture has likely been around since there have been ways to physically document things, but the practice has evolved in the digital age to match software
- In 2014, farm management software began to take off in terms of funding for development and proliferation of software.
- Data that was once collected and stored in a pocket-sized notebook now streams to the cloud for more comprehensive record-keeping and storage.
Variable rate (seeding/spraying)
- The idea of precision agriculture – the overarching philosophy behind variable rate application (VRA) – was initially conceived in the 1980s by Pierre C. Robert.
- The practice picked up steam in the early 2000s among early adopters.
- The ability to easily generate maps based on a field’s individual conditions (soil, elevation, etc.) with GPS and other ag tech innovations led to an increase in interest in variable rate seeding and spraying in recent years.
- Message boards, instant messaging platforms, and early social media platforms have populated the internet since the 1990s and even 1980s, in some cases.
- But, when we talk about social media, we’re typically referring to the modern iteration, which starts in 2004 with Facebook (accessible to the general public in 2006), followed by Twitter in 2006-07, and Instagram in 2010.
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