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Larkin Martin Uses GPS to Cut Farming Costs
Photograph by David Stuart
Photograph by David Stuart

Co-owner, Martin Farm; chairperson, Cotton Board
Courtland, Alabama

Martin, 47, relies on GPS technology to improve efficiency and trim fertilizer use on her family's large cotton operation.

"Our GPS-equipped harvesting machine allows us to generate a yield map. The strongest areas of the field show up in nice greens and blues, and the weaker areas in oranges and reds, which can indicate infertility or problems with pH balance or drainage. We can then send someone out with an iPad or other GPS-enabled handheld device to very precisely gather soil samples from those problem areas. It's a precision that the human eye and hand just can't achieve. We're doing a much better job of applying fertilizer only where we need to. The efficient and wise use of our environment is served by this technology."

A version of this article appeared in the September 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.