A Unique Industry Needs Unique Equipment

- Tamra Boucher

As a professional in the seed research equipment sector, I am often asked how I manage to compete against much larger companies. Of course, I always answer that question the same way — I don’t and won’t compete against anyone who produces equipment for production agriculture.

I think this misunderstanding signals a lack of knowledge of the agriculture research industry and its fundamental needs. It is not unusual for people to not understand industries within which they do not work, but it seems there is a gap the size of the Grand Canyon related to the knowledge and understanding of the agriculture research industry.

For starters, many people don’t even realize there is an agriculture research industry, let alone understand the significance of the work the industry performs. People tend to take food for granted and believe that there will always be enough, but we know the reality. We’ve all heard the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations predict a world population of 9 billion by 2050. There are more and more mouths to feed every day, and each day land is being taken away from food production.

Anyone who has worked in the field for long has stories to tell of the old production agriculture equipment they have used because they had nothing else. It was smaller than today’s production equipment, and, while not ideally suited, more efficient than doing work by hand.
The uniqueness of the research industry requires uniqueness of equipment. The industry must have equipment which is easily transportable, which provides consistent data, and which provides quality samples. And, by the way, it should also operate as easily and with the common features of production equipment.

This is no small order, but it is achievable. And it starts with purposeful engineering. In other words, engineering of products specifically designed to meet the needs of the research industry. As with anything, when you begin with the end in mind, the result is a strong solution.