The future of farming arrives in Oceana

August 9, 2023

The future of farming arrives in Oceana

WEARE TOWNSHIP – The Oceana Conservation District in partnership with MSU Agriculture Extension, Oceana County Farm Bureau, MAEAP and the West Central Michigan Horticultural Research, Inc. hosted the first ever Spray Demonstration in Oceana County at the West Michigan Research Station and Farm Tuesday, Aug. 8. 

The event entailed demonstrations of new sprayer technology such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV/drone), unmanned ground vehicles (UGV/rover), and sensor-smart sonic spray. State researchers and specialists educated growers on the versatility of the technology in the application process for low- to high-density crops, mature and young trees, as well as asparagus. 

“I’m excited to have this demonstration day for the local growers to experience the new sprayer technology that is out there, like the Mini Guss (a completely autonomous vehicle), which is the first unit in Michigan — technology that some growers have never seen in person,” said Emily Lavely, Michigan State University Ag Extension educator.

In a separate demonstration, a 10-foot-wide aerial drone took to the skies with a lift weight of 200 pounds, giving local growers firsthand experience with the new application potential. Among the demonstrations and education, a common theme rang throughout: sticking to the fundamentals. 

“Physics is physics — fundamentals don’t change,” said Michael Reinke, who is with Michigan State University Ag Extension. “The goal for this event is to show the agriculture community how new sprayer technology can be implemented on the farm while not forgetting the fundamentals of effective spraying.” As the industry moves into the 21st century, many generational farmers are looking for new and effective ways to produce the best-quality product for consumers. 

“We are thrilled to be able to partner with our sponsors today to provide our agricultural community with a glimpse into the future of farming,” said WCMHR, Inc. President and local generational grower Andy Riley. “The autonomous nature of farming is developing before our eyes, and I’m excited for the next generation of fruit and vegetable growers.” 

Presenters and equipment providers for the event include: Gillison’s Variety Fabrication, GreenMark Equipment, Aerial Ag, & Burnips Equipment. 

To stay up to date about upcoming community events and demonstrations occurring at the West Michigan Research Station, visit

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