Will these technologies change how you ranch?

Get ready, because the world is changing.

Burt Rutherford, Senior Editor

December 23, 2014

3 Min Read
Will these technologies change how you ranch?

Lowell Catlett’s wife accuses him of having a couple of mistresses. Their names are Lowe’s and Home Depot.

Catlett, futurist and dean of New Mexico State University’s College of Agriculture, doesn’t deny it. “I spend a lot of time there,” he says. “I walk into one of those stores and go into a sub-hypnotic trance.”

In the not-too-distant future, however, Catlett’s life will change – big time. He’ll be spending less time in a trance and more time at home, although his wife won’t see any more of him. He’ll be in the garage, making another set of pliers to replace the ones he put down somewhere and can’t find.

And your life will change, too. How would you like to make fewer runs to town to buy parts and tools?

Catlett says that could well be possible with 3D printing. “Let me tell you what Home Depot wants to do for you. They want to sell you that 3D printer. They’ll sell you the raw products and the digital blueprints. And you won’t have to go to Home Depot anymore.”

Instead, if you need a number 5 washer or an adjustable wrench, you just make it. And even though it will be made of plastics and polymers, it will be just as hard as its steel counterpart, he says. What’s more, it won’t be limited to hand tools. In September at a major auto show, a Chinese company printed a fully functioning car and drove it off the stage, he says.

“When somebody as big as Home Depot says we want 3D printers in all your shops and all your homes, you better get ready, because 3D printing is going to blow your doors off.”

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And it won’t stop there. That’s because, in the not-too-distant future, you’ll be able to use a gizmo that attaches to your smartphone that has a small well on the back. Put a drop of blood in that well and watch. “Folks, pick what you want to predict and what you want to measure. One drop of blood, that’s it,” he says.

In fact, Stanford University recently announced that it has developed software that contains profiles of virtually every known human disease and chemical processes in the human body. “All you do is take that blood and the software does the sorting. It matches whether or not you have an excess of this, not enough of that. And it will do it in four hours. And they say there’s no reason it can’t be done instantly,” he says.

“Get ready for do-it-yourself diagnostics. It will change not only human health, but animal health, in a way that you cannot imagine,” Catlett says.


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About the Author(s)

Burt Rutherford

Senior Editor, BEEF Magazine

Burt Rutherford is director of content and senior editor of BEEF. He has nearly 40 years’ experience communicating about the beef industry. A Colorado native and graduate of Colorado State University with a degree in agricultural journalism, he now works from his home base in Colorado. He worked as communications director for the North American Limousin Foundation and editor of the Western Livestock Journal before spending 21 years as communications director for the Texas Cattle Feeders Association. He works to keep BEEF readers informed of trends and production practices to bolster the bottom line.

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