Florida farmers harness technology to continue legacy of caring for the land

Lynetta Usher Griner and her husband, Ken, haven’t always worked in the logging and ranching operation they inherited from Lynetta’s parents. They both had careers off the farm that, while profitable, cannot compare to the impact they are having as farmers and ranchers, according to Ken.

“We’ve been in the ‘real world’ making money, but here you are making a difference,” he said.

The Florida Farm Bureau family manages Usher Land and Timber in Fanning Springs, in the northwestern part of the state.

Making a difference for the Griner family means, at a minimum, preserving the natural resources of their land and, where possible, enhancing them.

“Usher Farm was created by my parents, piece by piece. I feel a great responsibility to take care of him and leave him in better condition than we received him, and he was in very good condition,” said Lynetta.

His son, Corey, who works as a farm/ranch manager, takes his role very seriously in carrying on the legacy his grandfather started in the 1960s.

“As a third-generation rancher, I’m working my grandfather’s life’s job,” he said.

Artificial Intelligence as a Sustainability Tool

Always looking for innovative ways to care for the land, air, and water, the Griners have partnered with the University of Florida to implement artificial intelligence to quantify the value of ecosystem services.

“We’re marrying the technology with things that we’ve been doing all this time,” Lynetta explained.

According to Scott Angle, Ph.D., senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources at the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida, artificial intelligence is the current iteration of revolutions that have affected or are affecting the way we farm. foods.

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“Now we can make some decisions very, very quickly that humans never could,” Angle explained.

For example, artificial intelligence can help reduce herbicide applications by 75-80%.

“With artificial intelligence, we will be able to have tractors that go through the fields and spray only the weeds,” he said.

Farm Bureau: Sharing Farmers’ Sustainability Stories

The Griners are only unique in the specific mix of sustainability practices that work for their farm; Farmers and ranchers across the country are equally committed to sustainability, and the American Farm Bureau Federation is working to make sure people are aware of it.

As a founding member of the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance, the Farm Bureau ensures that farmers and ranchers are recognized for their efforts and seen as partners in sustainability.

“We work with farmers like the Griners to tell that great American agricultural story so consumers and policymakers understand what we do every day to be more sustainable for the future,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall.

The Farm Bureau’s role in sharing those stories is critical, according to Lynetta.

“Most farmers, ranchers and foresters just don’t have time to defend their product. That’s why it’s so important for organizations like the Farm Bureau to get our message out to legislators and influencers,” he said.

Lynetta continued: “It’s about the story. It is about the lives we live and our everyday practices that really make a difference.”

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