20 years Internet !! Wh@t did it bring feed?

11-12-2008 | |
Harrij Schmeitz Agri & Food chains

In the Netherlands the 17th of November 2008 was a remarkable day. We celebrated the 20th birthday of the World Wide Web. On this day a gentleman called Piet Beertema from Hoofddorp received his first e-mail from the USA. The internet in Holland was live! The question today is what did it bring the feed-industry?

When we look at our personal situation we see that the Internet has become an integrated part of our daily life. In the Netherlands four out of the five people use the internet daily. Children start with it when they are five years old. Research showed that families are more deregulated when the internet is down then when the telephone is not working.

However, looking at the feed-chain I see a different picture. A lot of companies did make their digital flyer on the web to promote their business. Some of them are using it for digital ordering of feed and occasionally it’s used for a farm-management-solution. But then we are almost at the end of use of this (new) technology.

I don’t know any examples of farmers sharing their knowledge with each other and with their feed supplier about the feed they are using.
I am not aware of examples where feed-companies structurally support their customers through the web.
I have no examples of feed mills that allow farmers to create their own recipes on the web for their own cattle.
And are there any feedmillers that are connected to the silos of their customers through the web?
All these things can be made possible through the Internet.

But, why don’t we use it then? Is it because it can’t be done? Not really. The technology is ready for it. But there is something else with us feed people. Gartner already concluded that the current management-generation did learn to use the internet instead of seeing it as a natural part of life and entertainment like having the television at home. But there is a new generation coming up where internet is just as normal as a management-system for the farm and a fully computerized feeding-system for cattle.

This young generation is the future. But the current generation has to prepare their future by innovating and challenging the technology by using it. And that is not a question whether we want to; it should be done. We should not be afraid of making mistakes. They should be made to learn from. Also it is not a matter of doing the same in a new technological environment. It’s about doing complete different things for better food-chains. Just take a look at what Philips and Sara Lee did do with the Senseo. Get out of the old world and move into a new one.

Let me now how far the new world in feed is in your country. I would be pleased to hear from you.