Recent technological advances both on the farm and in the lab are boosting not only the efficiency of modern farming but have made it also more independent form nature than ever before. Increasingly affordable and accessible new technologies are helping us to better understand and ‘manage’ nature and thus, for first time in history farming is becoming as any other industry - susceptible to specialisation and economies of scale. This in turn, besides increases in productivity and the minimum efficient scale, leads to fundamental organisational change, away from traditional family farms and towards corporate forms with the associated implications for employment and rural livelihoods. Recent evidence from the digitalisation in agriculture suggest that new technologies require developing capabilities in abstract and analytical skills substituting skills in routine tasks. However, this is not the end game for farmers; new partnerships between technology providers and agribusiness players emerge as digitalisation and connectivity become a strategic issue. Thus, while the first Industrial Revolution led to machines replacing ‘muscles’ the new Digital Revolution is leading to machines replacing ‘brains and souls’, and it may eventually end family farming as we know it.
family farming technological change innovation agribusiness companies production organisation