Inspiring lecture

The future of agriculture

Agriculture is on the eve of major technological changes. We are moving towards a more efficient, smarter and more sustainable digital future. Technology like artificial intelligence, drones, and self-driving harvesting systems will all facilitate better efficiency, greater crop yields and more sustainable agricultural practices. Breakthroughs in agriculture will encompass data analytics and predictive tools – technologies that will make decision making more efficient and can help optimise the use of seeds, water, fertiliser and pesticides.


Below you will find an overview of the topics within this keynote lecture.

Precision agriculture

Farming efficiency depends on our ability to predict natural conditions. To meet global food demand, we need to be able to react as quickly as possible. One way to do this is with precision agriculture, in which sensors, robotics, the IoT, satellite tech, and drones are used to gather precise data, enabling farmers to measure the performance of their crops.


Biotechnologies like DNA-engineering in agriculture enable us to amplify natural events or develop crops and animals that would otherwise be impossible. The coming years will see an increase in the number of engineered crops, providing greater food security, enhanced food quality, reduced need for herbicides and pesticides, improved crop yields, reduced costs, and resistance to crop disease and pests.

Smart livestock farming

Health issues can significantly affect the production efficiency of livestock. Using ICT, the Internet of Things (IoT), wearables, cameras, drones, image recognition software, as well as sound-, air-, temperature-, and weight monitoring, farmers can collect important data from their livestock. Gathering data from the facilities where livestock is housed can also help improve animal health and production efficiency.

Urban farming

Urban or vertical farms grow crops in 3D: rows of plants in soil or nutrient-enriched water (hydroponics) with LEDs mimicking natural light and sensors optimising growing conditions. Closed-loop systems (aquaponics) make it possible to grow fish as well as greens. Urban farming makes clever use of space and leaves ecosystems intact, and allows produce to reach tables with minimal transportation.


The overuse of pesticides and petrochemical fertilisers, deforestation, and soil and water conservation are some of today’s most pressing issues for which sustainable agriculture offers many solutions. By implementing biotechnology, indoor farming, and automating agricultural tasks like pollination, seeding, soil treatment, weeding, fertilising, and harvesting, we could largely eliminate humans from farming and reduce water, space and pesticide usage


In many ways, people are no longer separate from technology. It is, therefore, important to keep an eye on the moral side of technological developments, consider the implications for the world of tomorrow, and ensure we take important ethical considerations into account. We need to determine our boundaries and voice our opinions about how people and machines should work together.

New skills & roles

New technological developments in agriculture are changing how our food is produced, which will also lead to the development of new careers. Think hydrologists – professionals who protect the environment and ensure we have access to clean water, drone technologists, precision agriculture technologists, and food scientists who create new food products and improve existing ones.

The future of leadership

The future of work requires a new type of manager, who challenges the status quo and is willing to abandon entrenched ‘best practices’. There will be a move to flatter hierarchies as millennials are great team players and see traditional hierarchies as outdated. The managers of the future will offer employees opportunities to develop new skills and explore new positions.

The company of the future

The organisation of the future is hyper connected. It closely monitors new developments and collaborates with start-ups, scientists, and universities. It uses smart algorithms to analyse the world and employs a flexible workforce capable of rapidly developing new education concepts. The organisation of the future requires accessible, inspiring leaders who are not afraid to veer off the beaten track.
All the topics mentioned can be presented in a comprehensive, compact way or, if required, omitted. Topics from other lectures or your own suggestions can also be added. We will gladly discuss this with you.

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This futurist has chips in his body

“You can’t really talk about the future without also being part of it”, says Richard van Hooijdonk. So he put his money where his mouth is. To date, he’s had several RFID chips injected into his body that perform various tasks for him. Van Hooijdonk is planning to have a number of additional chips implanted in 2020 and 2021.
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The Future of Agriculture

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