Chamber Business News

Autonomous farm steering company AgJunction moves to Scottsdale

Thanks to a fast and furious hyper-advanced tech landscape, practically every portion of the food industry—from sit-down restaurants to fast food joints, coffee shops to grocery stores—is being reimagined as more tech-based. This also includes the food production sector, namely farming, which is seeing more efficiency in operations due to advances in technology.

One of those advances in technology has to do with auto-steering, a GPS-based tech feature that more accurately steers farming vehicles during seeding, spraying, and harvesting. Think of it as the innovation that turns tractors into self-driving vehicles. This automatic driving feature has been taking over the farming industry in recent years, helping farmers to more accurately tend their crops while saving money and time. It has also opened the door for a company like AgJunction to offer its services to farmers and farming companies nationwide.

AgJunction, which has been based in Hiawatha, Kansas, just announced that it’s heading to Scottsdale to plant a new headquarters with plans to grow crops of engineering jobs. All terrible farming puns aside, this is a huge move for the niche, yet burgeoning technology. Plus, it’s another feather in the cap of Arizona when it comes to yielding growth potential in yet another tech-related industry.

The decision to select Arizona as AgJunction’s new headquarters was based on the successful growth of our technology Center of Excellence in Scottsdale and the state’s focus on the autonomous and agriculture technology industries,” says Dave Vaughn, AgJunction president and chief executive officer.

AgJunction has already made the major move to the desert and is projected to open up more space for jobs in engineering, program management, finance and customer support. Back in April, the auto-steering company created two technology Centers of Excellence, with one based in Scottsdale, to “accelerate innovation in developing low-cost, simple-to-use precision agriculture solutions for all farmers.”

AgJunction specializes in offering farmers and industry-related companies a more precise way to steer farming vehicles and has already racked up more than 130 steering and machine control patents. One of the tech updates it’s now touting is its Wheelman Pro steering wheel, which is projected to save farmers about $15 per acre during harvest season.

“AgJunction is taking on a technological challenge to reduce cost and complexity of autosteering, the heart of precision agriculture,” said Brett McMickell, AgJunction senior vice president of global product development, in a statement. “Arizona provides access to a technology-focused workforce, universities, and an innovative business ecosystem essential for the developing products that all farms can afford and operate.”

AgJunction is stepping up its efforts as an industry leader in auto-steering wheel technology. When it comes to news around self-driving technology, the general public usually hears names like Uber, Ford, and Tesla, with the focus being given to everyday drivers on highways and surface streets. But the more industrial parts of transportation—such as big rigs, ships and farming vehicles—are now seeing more potential. This has opened the doors for more innovations and more employees creating and advancing those innovations.

Nick Esquer

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