Michigan native maps a farm future

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Tom Czuba. Image: Michigan Farm News

A Michigan native recently reconsidered farming after finding a niche in one of the newest technologies, Geographic Information Systems also known as GIS.

Tom Czuba was recently featured in Michigan Farm News for finding a path back to his family’s farm heritage after modern technology reignited his interest in agriculture. Czuba’s father was a fruit farmer. After contemplating whether to farm or attend college, Czuba began using GIS, a system that captures, manages and maps data.

He used the software to model the best area to grow peaches in Berrien County, Mich. He combined data on the soil with a 3D model of the county and other information, such as the frost-free areas. Using the technology inspired him to change his plans and his perspective on agriculture in general.

“With the poor state that Michigan’s economy is in, it seems that all students my age … plan on leaving, but I wouldn’t leave Michigan for anything,” he told Michigan Farm News “I like it here. Between the hunting and fishing and agriculture, it’s awesome. Besides, if everyone leaves, there’s no one left to help us recover.”

I also have been learning to use mapping software to investigate and write stories. And while it has certainly been a challenge, it has significantly changed how  I approach the  journalism that once only required a pencil and notebook. I smiled when reading this story, recognizing that practically all fields are on the cusp of changing forever with the introduction of new technologies.

I entered journalism because I thought that it would be absent of technical software and intense math. Boy was I wrong. Today, there is a very apparent merger of skills between professions. If even the oldest and longest established fields, like agriculture, are changing, I suppose it’s telling of where all professions are headed.

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