Shoebox Satellites and Pocket Computers: The Future of the Farm

Episode 2: “The Digital Revolution.” You’ve heard of it. Everyone has, perhaps so many times that the words have lost their meaning. But the advent and explosion of the Internet—and the way it has transformed the way we live, work, and even eat—is no less remarkable. 

outer space

When computing met the Internet. That’s the moment historians may say it all changed. The digital revolution has shaved years off of research and development, and transported the most analog effort on Earth— agriculture—onto the cutting edge. It’s connected consumers and producers like never before, and led to an information overload with the potential to change every aspect of our lives for the better. In this episode, we’ll learn how it touches, well everything.


When Technology is Totally Transformative

The ability to generate, share, collect, and then analyze data has disrupted every industry on Earth, and nearly every life. In this episode, we talk to the first data scientist Bayer (then Monsanto) ever hired about her personal journey from outlier to standard bearer. 


We meet the founder of a digital farming platform, and learn why the intersection of Fintech and Agtech is so critical to sustainability efforts. 


And we learn how rural broadband and the connections it enables has changed the lives of three different farmers. 


Finally, we talk to a statistician and public data expert about how we can all stand to benefit from greater transparency, and freer access to information. As we continue facing down challenges like making innovation faster and less costly, environmental stewardship more profitable, and farm life more connected, more data really is better.

Featured Guests


Nalini Polavarapu, Ph.D. - As one of Monsanto Company’s (now Bayer’s) first data scientist hires, Nalini is used to work so cutting edge that most people don’t quite understand it. In her over a decade at the company, Nalini pioneered the use of data and artificial intelligence to optimize the pipeline for the biggest plant breeding program on earth.


Pat Christie -  After observing a void in the market, Pat founded digital farming platform Conservis to bring Financial Technology to Agriculture Technology—and help farmers find a way to be more sustainable, sustainably. 


Kassi Tom Rowland - Farmer and agvocate Kassi helps manage her family farm, Tom Farms, in Leesburg, Indiana. She shares snippets of farm life on social media as @TomFarms. 


Elizabeth Jack - Fellow agvocate and longtime friend Elizabeth works on a family farm called Silent Shade Planting Company in the Mississippi Delta. Like Kassi, Elizabeth uses social media to share her day-to-day life and invite others to see what modern farming actually looks like. 


Tim Moffett - Tim is a dairy farmer turned comedian who brings ag humor to the masses, in person and on the Internet. 


Ben Wellington - Statistician and self-identified “quant”, Ben Wellington applies public data sets to public policy in the pursuit of a more sensical and efficient world. His TEDx Talk, “How we found the worst place to park in New York City,” has been viewed more than 1 million times. 


How to Listen 

The Tomorrow Farm is available everywhere you stream your favorite podcasts, or you can stream it right here. 


Apple Podcast

4 min read