There’s been a real bloom in the number of decision evaluation tools being offered online to help farmers analyze the risks and opportunities in their planting and cultivation plans. Farming has always been a risky business because it’s dependent on weather, crop yields, commodity prices, and–at least since the New Deal–on government subsidy programs.
What’s always been complicated is now downright complex, and the agriculture press churns out regular advice on operations management advice for the “agriculture industry.” One currently hot topic in these columns is the new federal program known as ACRE–Average Crop Revenue Election–which requires farmers to make planting and crop rotation decisions that will be carried out over multiple years.
Decision making under this kind of uncertainty means that in order to do reliable production forecasting, farmers have become increasingly familiar with statistical analysis techniques. They have to spend as much time in front of a computer as in a tractor seat.
Gone are the days of the farmer as a rube. Welcome the agricultural manager.