Innovative technologies play an increasingly important role for farmers and forestry landowners across the country.
The Mobley family created the International Forest Company (IFCO), which is an operation that grows containerized and bare-root pine seedlings for forestry landowners to use for reforestation. The Mobley's have implemented technology in a variety of ways on their operation to grow their business.
Precisions agriculture technology
IFCO adopted an innovative center pivot irrigation system, a precision agriculture technology that allows for detailed control of water and fertilizer. Precision agriculture technology is the use of information technology to ensure that resources such as pesticides and fertilizers are applied strategically, thereby decreasing the number of resources used and increasing yields.
Together, Patrick, his son, Preston, and their IFCO team grow loblolly pine, longleaf pine, slash pine and shortleaf pine, in addition to some hardwood species and native grasses. Between 2012 and 2017, IFCO expanded from 64 million containerized pine seedlings to 250 million seedlings. Preston recognizes this incredible growth is a direct result of new technology that they have initiated on their farm, saying “It wouldn’t have been possible for us to reach the scale at IFCO without investment in new technologies.”
More than a guy on a tractor
“As a farmer, it’s very important for everyone, especially lawmakers, to understand how technologically advanced we are. It’s not just some guy out there on a tractor. It’s so much more than that,” Preston added.
Investing in new technology
Farm Credit supports farmers as they invest in new technologies to help them farm more effectively and efficiently. Doug Sharp, IFCO business develop manager, said, “We’ve grown over 350 percent in the last five years, and a lot of that is because of the help through Farm Credit, providing financing and lines of credit for us.”
Steve Yearta, executive vice president of AgGeorgia Farm Credit, the association that serves IFCO said, “It’s a mutually beneficial relationship and I’ve really been impressed with this business and the remarkable success and growth that they’ve achieved over the last few years.”