WENATCHEE — Literally rooted in the cycle of seasons, the agriculture industry and change remain close acquaintances.
Farmers have always kept one eye on what’s happening to their crops while planning for next year and beyond. The idea of innovation is a constant.
“We don’t have anything that hasn’t changed,” Dan Davis, director of business development for Oneonta/Starr Ranch Growers, said of the fruit industry as a whole, from growers to processors, marketers and shippers.
The industry is flush with new fruit varieties that are now being monitored by sensors, robots and drones or encased in netting to create microclimates to enhance growing conditions. High-tech is everywhere, it seems, with more on the horizon.
The industry, though, doesn’t take change lightly. Testing is thorough and extensive, from decades spent developing new apple varieties to the handful of years it takes to get a first harvest from a new orchard and the time spent figuring out how to keep the crop tasting fresh after a year in storage.
Fruit processing, packing, storage and transportation processes, especially those connected to high-tech, might see change a little faster, but typically that also comes with plenty of time for cost and comparison.
The industry isn’t easily swayed by shiny new objects.
“Like all businesses, it’s important to approach new technology adoption from a business standpoint and how it will meet goals,” said Stemilt Growers…