The United States has been grappling with the growing shortage of farm workers, especially amid the pandemic. However, Western Growers (WG) appear to have found an answer as they are leading a Global Harvest Automation Initiative (GHAI) to speed up crop automation across the new produce industry, with an objective of mechanizing 50% of the harvest in ten decades.
The move to work on a solution like automation comes as the farmers in the US are preparing for a fresh growing season that’s once again experiencing the coronavirus surge.
2020’s pandemic surge brought about travel restrictions and lockdowns, fear among farmers of contracting the virus and together led to a major labor shortage as most Agri jobs were filled by migrant workers.
Western Growers Association was established in 1926 and it represents provincial and local farmer’s families that grow fresh produce in Colorado, California, and New Mexico. The members of the association and workers provide more than half of the United States with fresh fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts, including almost 50% of America’s organic produce.
The Western Growers President and CEO Dave Puglia stated “over 10 years, our members have battled with a diminishing number of accessible farm workers. If we don’t get together as an industry to rapidly and productively convey automation solutions for ranchers in this nation, almost certainly, the shift of the new production other nations will significantly improve,” Bloomberg reported.
“The Global Harvest Automation Initiative (GHAI) is directly aimed at confronting this challenge, and the association of so numerous industry leaders and partners in this undertaking is a solid pointer of our common commitment to progress,” Puglia added.
The SME group plans to build a set of interfaces so that the startups can associate with tractor manufacturers like John Deere, sensor makers like Bosch, navigation gear suppliers like Trimble, and other assembling business partners.
Dr. Ines Hanrahan, chief for WTFRC says “The specialty crop production needs to all cooperate to tackle harvest automation by strategically speeding the innovation and adoption plan. ” “Moreover, the approach Western Growers is taking is upheld by the two new companies and industry as the best way ahead to at last accomplish this objective, Hanrahan added.”