Reimagining the Tractor

In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), and Rod Cook, industry veteran and the chair of the Blueberry Technology and Innovation Committee, sit down with Praveen Penmetsa, founder and CEO of Monarch Tractor. While the blueberry industry isn’t known for being tractor-centric, this tractor will be part of the Innovate 2021 Technology Symposium, and is from one of the companies that is looking for ways to improve efficiency, reduce costs and promote sustainability. Monarch Tractor is reimagining what a tractor can be as an electric autonomous machine able to match the performance of traditional options.

“Our technology acts as a bridge between farm economics and sustainability. And to be honest, just the diesel savings is not a compelling value proposition for farmers. So that’s where the diesel savings plus labor savings plays in. So our tractor is a solution for that, and we are hoping that our tractor will bridge that gap.” – Praveen Penmetsa

“We believe that our tractor can play a role in allowing farmers to tell their stories directly to the consumer versus having all these people in between tell that story for them. So that’s how we focused on the small tractor. That’s why we are in fruits and vegetables. And that’s why it’s a 40 horsepower tractor.” – Praveen Penmetsa

Topics covered include:

  • Introducing the use of the electric autonomous tractor for blueberry production opportunities.
  • How these tractors can benefit the producer, the process of their development and the strategy in implementing them.
  • Looking at this new technology and its ability to complement current farm implements.

Crop Report

The Blueberry Crop Report is an update on crop conditions and markets throughout North and South America. In this episode, you’ll hear from Luis Vegas in Peru. This was recorded on September 22, 2021.

Marketing Boost

National Pancake Day is Sunday, September 26! This is the perfect opportunity to promote adding a boost of blue to everybody’s favorite breakfast. In this week’s marketing boost, USHBC/NABC Vice President of Marketing and Communications Jennifer Sparks shares how to capitalize on opportunities like this to get people buzzing about blueberries.

Fall Event Registration

You can still register to attend Innovate 2021: USHBC+NABC Tech Symposium and Fall Meetings, Sept. 27-Oct.1, virtually! The virtual attendance option includes the Tech Symposium, Tech Tours and a host of USHBC committee meetings. While the event is at capacity for in-person attendance, interested stakeholders can register to participate virtually via a la carte pricing listed here.