Transformative Technology – The Future of Agriculture

“I am passionate and dedicated to not only advancing the world of global agriculture but also forging a path of success for innovative female farmers and leaders in the future.” – Shari von de Pol

Shari von de Pol

Shari von de Pol – CEO of CATTLEytics Incorporated – Canada

2021 WE Empower Finalists, Europe and North America

From a career in Computer Engineering to earning her doctorate of Veterinary Medicine, Shari von de Pol began her journey in improving animals through innovative technology while also galvanizing people to envision their goals and bring new ideas to fruition in this space. CATTLEytics Incorporated uses Agricultural Technology, a system to collect and use animal data, to shape local and global farms to become more economically and ecologically sustainable. With a growing population and increase in climate change, revolutionary agriculture data utilization is of the utmost importance to not only feed the population but to decrease resource use.

The Future of Food

Pressure on the food system has been steadily growing as the population increases, climate change causes ecosystem disturbances and food security issues rise due to global events like the Covid-19 pandemic. These challenges make reaching UN SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) more difficult to achieve, yet CATTLEytics Inc. uses modern technologies to streamline animal health and care, decreasing economic input and direct human intervention in food systems. It is important to remember that companies must also economically benefit from system changes as they should be profitable and CATTLEytics Inc. “makes a direct impact on not only the quality of food, but also on the profits produced, creating a more sustainable economy for smaller farmers and ranchers”. The powerful combination of technological advances that decrease inputs and increase both profitability and food outputs, reduces the environmental impacts while also feeding the rapidly growing population.

Environmental Impacts of Production

Shari von de Pol - cows grazing

The production of food is a major cornerstone in the global economy, yet agricultural production has a major ecological footprint that if not managed properly can be destructive to the planet. With this in mind, UN SDG 12 (Responsible Production and Consumption) must be taken seriously in order to continue to feed the population while also decreasing the environmental impact; CATTLEytics Inc. does just this by “decreasing the use of unnecessary antibiotics, producing more beef with fewer animals, less water, a more responsible use of land and less greenhouse gas emissions”. The data that CATTLEytics Inc. provides helps farmers to utilize fewer resources and decrease their impact on the environment, resulting in a sustainable production business model that strives to achieve the UN SDGs.

Optimal Land Usage

The decision to use scarce arable land for producing cattle feed (grains) is a point of contention as many tropical forests and biodiversity hotspots are destroyed in order to provide feed for the increased consumption of beef. To lessen pressure on the environment, in alignment with UN SDG 15 (Life on Land), CATTLEytics Inc. uses technology to decrease cattle days on feed which opens the land for food production for human consumption. Optimizing the agricultural industry for cattle to graze in a non-arable environment “allows grasslands to flourish, as it is an intrinsic step in maintaining a healthy plant biodiversity and improves carbon capture”. There is a limited amount of arable land for food production so it is extremely imperative that a modern, analytical approach is taken to maximize overall food production for human consumption while also decreasing the environmental impact these processes have.

Many industries are predominantly male-dominated, however, CATTLEytics Inc. pushes through gender stereotypes to demonstrate that females can create revolutionary impacts within any field. Like von De Pol, be the changemaker within your industry, and transform traditional models to achieve the UN SDGs and create a world that is not only profitable to all kinds of people but a world that is fair, just and sustainable.

“Being a female-led agricultural business, we are setting an example for how women can innovate, lead, and succeed in this industry. By encouraging others to step up in agriculture through our example, we are empowering women by using knowledge and technology to overcome patriarchal advantages.” – Shari von de Pol

This article was written by Ella Schneider, WE Empower intern.