In a recent newsletter from Harvest Automation, the start-up company that produces robots that move potted plants at nurseries and greenhouses, HA cites two very revealing trends regarding migrant workers.
These two trends are causing a double whammy for American farmers:
1. Shifting migration patterns have come to a point where migration from the US into Mexico is slightly higher than from Mexico into the US. From a high of 2.9 million inflow from Mexico to the U.S. in the late 1990's to the present 1.37 inflow vs. 1.39 outflow, things have radically changed.
2. Mexican workers are moving into other industries from traditional farm work, while at the same time Mexican farms are increasing their wages in an attempt to keep farm workers from moving to higher-paying factory and office jobs, adding additional pressure on agriculture in the US.
Consequently the metrics of using robotic solutions in agriculture is rapidly changing.
Harvest Automation has provided an economic robotic solution for the nursery and greenhouse sector of the ag industry. Other companies are busy field testing various robotic devices for harvesting, pruning, weeding, providing data, etc. and working toward making those devices cost beneficial. Things are happening fast. Stay tuned!