Meet the Midwestern Millennial Aiming to Modernize the Agriculture Industry

road sign on a dirt road next to a farm Meet Josh Doering.

In the last few weeks, the number of articles Doering and his invention, the SeedSlide, have been mentioned in exceeds the number the young inventor can count on his fingers. Doering is the latest in a generation of millennials using technology and innovation to modernize industries like agriculture and manufacturing which, while rapidly changing, are still often associated with traditional ideals and methodologies.

Doering, a marketing finance major at Morningside College, told the Journal-Star, “Young people tend to think of agriculture as an occupation that our parents or grandparents would have, but there’s so much innovation going on in farming.”

After watching his father, a seed dealer and a farmer, deliver seeds, climb on top of a wagon, and manually open the gate that allows the seeds come out, he noted how challenging the job was. “It’s pretty dangerous work climbing onto slippery farming equipment in order to open boxes by hand.”

So he did something about it. Doering invented what he calls “the can opener for 5 foot tall seed boxes,” a remote controlled lever that does that task for farmers and allows them to minimize risk. The young inventor wasn’t the only one who believed in the success of the project, though. Chicago Innovation reported earlier in December that Seedslide took first place in the Future Founders’ UPitch competition, beating 23 other startup founders to win a $5,000 prize!

He’s only twenty years old, but Doering teamed up with John Platte, owner of Hubbard’s Central Iowa Powder Coating, to manufacture and market the product. Interestingly enough, Inc. says that entrepreneurship may be a natural fit for the latest generation: “Today’s social form is not the commune or the movement or even the individual creator as such; it’s the small business.”

With this type of innovation and a generation designed to revolutionize the world, it will be fascinating to see what other products or developments could do the same for agriculture and manufacturing. As Doering’s product already demonstrates, there’s a need for renewed efficiency in many aspects of industries with high populations of workers who’ve been at it for their whole lives, like farming—agriculture tends to be a lifelong career path. The SeedSlide is for sale through an online website and could make the lives of many farmers simpler and more effective.

When Doering graduates in 2017, he tells the Journal-Star that he plans on returning to the family farm. “Too many young people want to go to big cities once they graduate. Agriculture is just something that’s in my blood.”

In an article titled “Millennial Farmers are Changing the Industry,” Colleen Holland interviewed two millennials working in agriculture about the differences between the new generation and older generations of farmers. One conclusion: “Millennials are going to try farming with their own twist by utilizing new technologies. Millennial farmers are no different than Millennial consumers—they want to be on the cutting edge of technology, pave their own way, and not do something just because it is the way it’s always been done.”

We look forward to seeing how Midwesterners take their experiences with technology and innovation and use them to transform some of our largest industries, manufacturing and agriculture, in influential ways.

photo credit: county line road via photopin (license)