Robotic strawberry picker could be tool of future

Technology will save farmers because of lack of migrant workers

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Strawberries

PLANT CITY, Fla. - One Florida company is developing technology to replace farm workers with robots.

The Tampa Tribune reports that Harvest CROO Robotics LLC hopes to see their strawberry-picking robotic machines in Florida fields by 2016.

Farmer Gary Wishnatzki and his partner Bob Ptizer, an engineer, tested their technology this year. They say the robotic picker will save farmers from having to abandon crops because of a lack of migrant workers.  As the labor force shrinks, some Florida farmers are planting fewer acres or leaving crops in the field to rot.

 According to the Florida Strawberry Growers Association, strawberries have a more than $1 billion annual economic impact for the state.

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