Monarch Tractor recently announced its fully electric, driver-optional, smart tractor will soon have a solid presence at Hopville Farms in Oregon.
The alliance was made possible through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. The organization selected Hopville Farms for funding under the Conservation Innovation Grant program to integrate and test Monarch Tractor’s autonomous electric tractor. The goal will be to automate specific blueberry field maintenance tasks to reduce the use of diesel fuels while improving farming productivity.
Praveen Penmetsa, co-founder & CEO of Monarch Tractor, tells IndustryWeek, the USDA’s vote of confidence serves as validation for Monarch Tractor’s technology stack of 100 percent electric, automated operations, driver optional modes and data analytics.
“Monarch Tractor is an ideal partner due to its collaborative approach to solving the issues facing farmers today,” said Jim Hoffmann, owner, Hopville Farms. “We’re eager to implement Monarch’s technology into our operation as its autonomous capabilities will help improve labor productivity, while electrification will reduce our carbon footprint.”
The USDA Conservation Innovation Grant program is one of several funding opportunities available to farmers deploying Monarch Tractor for its unique, fully electric, driver-optional features. This approval for funding through the USDA adds to a growing list of funding awards for Monarch partnerships that includes California, Norway, and New Zealand. Each program aims to improve agricultural operations through green and sustainable technology and best practices.
“The grant provides Monarch Tractor with the opportunity for electrification to make an impact for agriculture across the nation. We are thrilled the USDA is responding to farmers demands for electrification and its increased investment into intelligence on farm operations,” says Penmetsa. “This further validates our commitment to elevate farming practices, enabling clean, efficient and economically viable solutions for today’s farmers and generations to come.”
Additionally, in cooperation with Oregon State University, Hopville Farms and Monarch Tractor will work together to create a platform for field data collection that is expected to improve agronomy practices. “Monarch Tractor continues to accelerate the adoption of sustainable farming practices by helping farmers achieve environmental and economic goals,” says Penmetsa.
Harvesting solid results
The alliance with Hopville comes on the heels of Monarch’s first commercial deployment at Wente Vineyards. “We are excited about Monarch Tractor’s development progress,” says Penmetsa. “Seeing the use of our pilot series in field operations and receiving important insights from our farm partners is fantastic, and we are thrilled to be continuing our pilot series work with Wente Vineyards. Wente Vineyards is seeing great success and operational efficiency.”
Looking forward, Monarch is traveling the west coast with multiple tractors demonstrating technical capabilities. “We look forward to future deployments into farm operations and furthering partnerships with industry leaders,” says Penmetsa.