Back to Blog

Technology is.... Considering a CTO

Is now the time to expand your tech expertise?
Following is a blog that was recently posted on The Daily Scoop website (
It describes the possibility that some agricultural producers might want to consider hiring their own Chief Technology Officer (CTO). 
The text of the blog is posted here, and an interesting survey of producer's thoughts about their use of technology and their need for a CTO is included in the full blog found at:

= = = = = =
As you look at your farm’s capital expenditures, how many are related to technology? Think broadly. The numbers probably climb pretty fast. 

“An important part of our business is to try new things,” says Brian Watkins, Ohio farmer and CEO of CropZilla, a farm software provider. “Even if you’re not an early adopter, you still have to have an intentional innovation strategy.”

Your farm’s strategy should span management information, agronomic technology and equipment technology, Watkins says. To make sure your farm is ahead of the pack (or at least in the race) you need someone to own this part of the business. 
A Strategic Move
A recent Farm Journal technology survey shows 68% of farmers say they don’t see their farm needing a chief technology officer or similar positions in the future. Yet, 58% of those same farmers say their data collection practices are adequate for now but probably not good enough for tomorrow. 

Don’t be intimidated by the title of chief technology officer, Watkins encourages. The job label isn’t important. Your goal is to have someone on the team at least spending part of their time evaluating technology options, determining what to buy into and chucking out products or services that are not a fit.

“The point is you don’t want to let other people lead you around in terms of technology,” he says.

Assess your technology needs to determine if you should have an in-house expertise or if you should hire an external person, suggests John Fulton, precision agriculture specialist for Ohio State University Extension.

“You need someone who at least spends time keeping up with the technology,” Fulton says. “This can include attending conferences, talking to neighbors, reviewing information online and reading articles — this person is responsible for the farm’s digital strategy.”

Fill the Need
Look around your family and team, suggests Peter Gredig, an Ontario grain farmer and technology developer with mobile app development company AgNitrion. Is there a child, sibling or new employee who geeks out on technology, is internet savvy or is a gamer?

“There are a lot of diamonds in the rough on farms,” he says. “We are hiring young people who may not be ag savvy, so we are teaching them the ag stuff. But we’re not letting them teach us what they know on the tech side.”

Technology will continue to change how you farm — make sure you’re ready to capitalize on it.

“I always say a successful tech strategy has nothing to do with what tech you’re using; it has to do with diligences and know what’s available and if it fits on your farm,” Gredig says. 

What Does a CTO Do?
The responsibilities of a chief technology officer (CTO) can vary depending on the type of farm operation. Peter Gredig, an Ontario grain farmer and technology developer, says the job description can include the following tasks: 
  • Develop a technology strategy aligned with the company’s business goals.
  • Discover and implement new technologies that create a competitive advantage.
  • Help staff use the technology profitably by cutting costs, boosting productivity or improving efficiency.
  • Ensure proper use and efficiency creation of new and existing technologies.
  • Make adjustments based on feedback from staff and clients to improve the use of technology.
  • Communicate the technology strategy to partners and investors.
= = = = = =
Reposted by Don Tyler
Post a new comment
Refresh Image

© 2024 American Society of Agricultural Consultants

Website powered by MemberLeap

American Society of Agricultural Consultants (ASAC)

Jean Merry, Executive Director
N78W14573 Appleton Ave #287
Menomonee Falls, WI 53051
(262) 502-9034