From electronic mail to AI, AdFarm president says ag advertising firm has to maintain up with quick adopters

‘No person spends extra time on a cellular machine than a farmer, so creating plans and methods to succeed in (farmers), it’s modified immensely’

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For Ben Graham, electronic mail was a brand new factor when he began working within the agriculture advertising and communications trade.

How occasions have modified.

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Graham, president of Calgary-based AdFarm, Canada’s largest agriculturally-focused advertising and communications company, has needed to sustain with know-how because it evolves, from electronic mail to the latest, massive change — synthetic intelligence.

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“We’re beneath stress with AI and all these different traits,” mentioned the 54-year-old, who obtained a lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Agri-Meals Entrepreneurs Alliance final week in Winnipeg. “We have now to be leading edge.”

AdFarm works with agriculture and meals corporations to develop advertising and communication methods aimed toward reaching particular audiences inside the agriculture trade. Through the years it has labored with massive names in agriculture corresponding to Bayer CropScience, Corteva Agriscience, equipment producer New Holland and fertilizer producer Nutrien, in addition to trade organizations corresponding to Alberta Beef Producers and Canola Council of Canada.

“No person spends extra time on a cellular machine than a farmer, so creating plans and methods to succeed in (farmers), it’s modified immensely from a standard advert in a newspaper or radio industrial right through to a extremely built-in e-automation marketing campaign,” he mentioned.

‘Human route’ nonetheless wanted amid AI use

AI can be utilized in some ways, however should be directed correctly, with clear considering, to get something of worth from it, mentioned Graham.

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“For us, we’re taking a look at it from a inventive standpoint, to assist generate extra quantity and high quality in inventive,” he mentioned. “From a content material creation standpoint, there’s methods to make use of it there to reinforce content material, whether or not it’s social media or digital.”

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Many within the trade feared job losses would happen within the advertising and communications discipline because of AI use, however that hasn’t occurred and AdFarm has as an alternative continued to develop, mentioned the corporate’s president.

“With out that human route, (AI) nonetheless has its limitations, so it hasn’t affected our workforce in any respect,” mentioned Graham.

Graham foresees no impact of AI on AdFarm’s workforce within the “close to future” as a result of particular agricultural data is required to drive the know-how.

“Ag is such an in depth, various trade, whether or not you’re rising livestock or planting distinctive seeds, to pasture administration,” he mentioned.

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Cattleland Feedyard near Strathmore on Wednesday, January 26, 2022.
FILE PHOTO: Cattleland Feedyard close to Strathmore on Wednesday, January 26, 2022. Picture by Darren Makowichuk /Postmedia

‘Astronomical’ modifications forward for agriculture: AdFarm president

Whereas corporations used to have time to adapt as soon as a know-how, corresponding to electronic mail, reshaped the panorama, continuous change is now the brand new regular due to ongoing technological developments, mentioned Graham.

In agriculture, new applied sciences are coming by which some regulatory steerage goes to be wanted, he added.

“Like whenever you take a look at auto-drive know-how, agriculture, particularly in farming, has adopted auto-steer. Applied sciences like that, they have been adopted not solely quick however throughout the sector. Robotic milking, feed applied sciences — all these issues have occurred very quick in agriculture.

“You add in that synthetic studying element, the quantity of change that’s going to occur in agriculture within the subsequent 5 years is astronomical.”

Web connectivity and information entry in rural areas are bettering with applied sciences corresponding to SpaceX’s satellite tv for pc Starlink satellites, which have “plugged quite a lot of holes” in connectivity points, mentioned Graham, whose household has farmed close to Vulcan for 119 years.

“That was the type of the holdback that now could be unleashing the subsequent method of know-how in agriculture,” mentioned Graham.

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