In the evolving landscape of agriculture, automation has emerged as a driving force reshaping traditional practices. Leigh Vaughn, the director of produce at Associated Food Stores (AFS), is keeping a watchful eye on the developments and how the adoption of cutting-edge technology is revolutionizing the way produce is cultivated and harvested. 

“Automation in harvesting isn’t merely a trend; it’s a fundamental shift in how we approach agricultural practices,” Leigh said. With a commitment to innovation, Leigh recognizes the pivotal role drones play in this paradigm shift. “Drones have emerged as a big part of this transformation, offering impressive precision,” Leigh explains. “Their ability to spot imperfections in real-time is revolutionizing harvesting.” 

Leigh recently shared a video on StoreLink showing drones harvesting pears. Leigh says drones hold immense potential for optimizing the production and quality of a wide range of produce. From apples to asparagus, the application of drone technology transcends specific crops, offering a holistic solution to the challenges facing modern agriculture. By leveraging drones for real-time monitoring, farmers can identify pest infestations, monitor crop health and optimize irrigation practices with unprecedented accuracy. 

‘As technology continues to evolve, so does our capacity to meet the growing demand for high-quality produce,” Leigh said.

This approach to produce cultivation ensures not only higher yields and better quality but also sustainability and environmental opportunities. “By embracing drone technology, we’re not just staying ahead of the curve; we’re shaping the future of agriculture,” said Leigh. 

As Leigh and AFS demonstrate, embracing innovation is not just about staying ahead of the curve—it’s about shaping the future of food production for generations to come.