Touch the Soil News #1325 (Feature photo – Greenhouse Tomatoes –CCA SA 4.0 International)
Estimates are that 10 percent of the fruits and vegetables grown in the U.S. are left in the field because of insufficient numbers of workers or other challenges to getting workers into the fields.
Robotics are rapidly entering the arena of farm harvesting – an activity that pays out $34 billion a year in labor costs in the U.S. each year.
The issue is not that robotics can’t do the job, it’s that they can not only cover the 10 percent loss from lack of labor, but a significant portion of the entire labor pool. This poses a significant challenge to Wall Street companies and their investors. The challenge is that the robots may be able to pick the tomatoes, but they can’t eat them or pay for them. It takes working humans to eat and pay for the tomatoes.
CNBC News covers the most recent development of a tomato picking robot: