Labor represents up to 50% of the cost of all agricultural products in the US. And this is not because workers are being paid exorbitant rates. It's due to a lack of innovation and misallocation of labor skills.
The average US farm is 444 acres and roughly 30% of a farm laborer's time is spent moving crops across those acres. That's time that could be spent on high-value, skilled tasks like hand-picking/harvesting.
Future Acres is developing Carry, a fully autonomous robotic harvest companion. Carry finds the row, goes to the picker, and waits for the crop to be loaded. Carry then transports the payload out of the row to its destination. After Carry is unloaded, it's off to the next row.
By partnering with Future Acres, our potential customers believe they can reduce their labor burden and increase production efficiency by 30%. Farmworkers will be able to focus on the skilled task of identifying ripe crops, leaving the harshest work to a robot. Most importantly, farms will be able to harvest and sell their full yields by greatly reducing labor shortages.
Carry will be available for an upfront fee and a recurring monthly SaaS, which will cover software updates and routine maintenance.
The supply of farm labor in the US has dropped drastically, causing our economy to lose $3.1 billion per year in crop production. In California, 56% of farmers have reported a labor shortage in the last five years, compared to only 25% in 2014. A similar story is playing out across the nation.
Crop transport is just the beginning. Software to improve farm data and analytics and hardware to enable autonomous crop picking are just a few things on our product roadmap. Future Acres is creating tools that collaborate with farmworkers, enabling them to allocate more time to the highest value tasks and guiding today's farms into tomorrow's future.