Businesses face adversity from time to time which directly impacts profitability, such as:
- From man-made environmental and safety situations that precipitate regulations requiring costly compliance measures; e.g., the fuel efficiency and general safety regulations imposed on the automobile industry
- The water and wastewater treatment regulations imposed on manufacturers by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Acts of God and natural global conditions such as drought which is currently affecting much of the agricultural land in production across the world
Each era in our history has had its challenges. The automobile industry has been able to respond to the adversity imposed by fuel standard regulations and over time, improve the quality of the cars and their competitive advantage. Manufacturers have been able to respond to the adversity imposed by water and air-quality regulations from EPA to build new corporate cultures that embrace green and sustainable practices requiring innovation along the way while building goodwill, brand, and competitiveness in the market.
Today, drought is one of the most serious and pervasive adverse challenges facing farming and farm communities worldwide. Instead of waiting for it to finally rain, the farm industry must pursue innovation in several key areas:
- Storage of water
- Recycling of wastewater back to subsurface ground and storage
- Efficient use of water to grow next-generation crops requiring less water
Research is ongoing in all of these areas and when successfully applied, innovation will sprout wherever drought is an issue.
History teaches us that adversity at first may seem like a direct attack to profitability and the sustainability of our businesses, and this typically instigates a stubborn defensive reaction in the beginning. But history also shows us that when companies face adversity head on, people rise to the occasion and solve some very difficult problems and those solutions benefit everyone.
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Imagine H2O is a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire and empower people to solve water problems.
by Scott Pickard
A researcher at UIUC asked my thoughts about resources which could help him with his proposal to develop and deploy a wireless sensor/data/transmission/collection/storage/analytics platform to support the optimization of hard-to-reach, poor, small-plot agricultural regional economies. I came up with the following list:
aerial data collection: PrecisionHawk
analytics and visualization: Google Fusion Tables
connecting devices to the internet: electric imp
crowd-driven area data collection: Loveland Technologies
real-time sensor networks: xively
remote monitoring: Illinois Structural Health Monitoring Project (ISHMP)
The off-the-shelf tools are out there. It is a matter of putting them together in an innovative way to generate some new knowledge that is truly useful and can make an impact.
Instead of spending billions on infrastructure to (a) keep people out, (b) catch them, (c) jail them, and (d) return them, our government should reallocate those billions towards incentivizing U.S. companies to invest in Mexico-based agricultural and manufacturing facilities that create good jobs in Mexico that bring profits back to America.
Manual labor for agriculture is getting harder and harder to find. For generations hard working immigrants from Mexico have come to US farms, nurseries and greenhouses to work, but that trend seems to be tapering off. Shifting migration patterns have come to a point where migration from the US into Mexico is slightly higher than from Mexico into the US.