Tech drives new generation of farmers

By: Randall Johnston

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I Love Farms general manager Emma Germano has had to increase production to keep up with tech-driven demand from overseas markets. I Love Farms general manager Emma Germano has had to increase production to keep up with tech-driven demand from overseas markets. I Love Farms general manager Emma Germano has had to increase production to keep up with tech-driven demand from overseas markets.

A regional Victorian vegetable farmer’s daughter has revolutionised the way the way her family does business by using technology to break into new international markets.


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Speaking to TradeFarmMachinery.com.au at the recent AgriVictoria State of Opportunity 2016 Summit in Melbourne, I Love Farms general manager Emma Germano says her family’s vegetable farm at Mirboo North, in regional Victoria has used simple app-based technology to reach out to new markets.

Germano uses the smartphone app Whatsapp to lock in export orders with international clients, the moon calendar app for predicting harvest timings and social media networks for finding staff to pick the produce and market it to consumers.

"It’s understandable that farmers might feel intimated by all the new technology available, but once you know what you need and how to use it, you’ll wonder how you ever worked without it," Germano says.

"I farm with my dad. I’ve been back on the farm for five years and the biggest challenge has been bringing this business into the year 2016.

"Dad’s always been a traditional farmer, so there was some debate about how we use technology to help us with the business, but he’s quite a convert now."

The majority of the broccoli and potatoes they produce goes to the domestic market, but an ever-growing proportion is now being exported overseas.

"I’ve been very passionate about growing and finding new markets outside of Australia," Germano says.

"I went out to find new buyers and I did. Now we export to Singapore, and we have increased our production significantly."

Technology is even being used to recruit their staff via Facebook, after a conscious decision to hire workers directly, rather than through an agency.

"Facebook is a cheap and effective tool connecting us with our consumers," Germano says. "Everything I need to do for the business can be done either on my mobile phone or my computer or a combination of the two."

Genrmano says it doesn’t matter if your business has the money to invest in the latest technology, if you can network with other businesses in your supply chain and make the most of the technology they have.

"We have started to utilise the technology of companies within our supply chain," she says.

"So this means we benefit from the best breeding technology and innovation, and we are able to capitalise on the fact that we are partnered with suppliers who are technologically focused."

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