Since the founding of our nation, the U.S. has established itself as a major agricultural super power on the world stage. One key component of this success can be attributed to the advancement and adoption of new technology in agricultural production.
Two of the earliest modern inventions that moved American agriculture forward was Eli Whitney’s cotton gin, which sped up the process of removing seeds from cotton fiber, and Cyrus McCormick’s mechanical reaper, which allowed for crops to be harvested mechanically rather than by hand. Today, we can boast a whole array of cutting edge technology to help farmers grow more with less, including crop protection tools that can defend crops against weeds, insects, and disease, genetically engineered seeds whose use can reduce soil erosion and preserve soil moisture, irrigation systems that can customize and manage water use, along with other modern farming techniques such as precision agriculture to optimize yields and minimize inputs. Taken together, farmers are able to produce an abundance of food and fiber with limited resources while still providing consumers with a variety of choices and still protecting the health of our environment.
This month, Inside Story is celebrating the agricultural industry’s commitment to innovation and how that positively impacts the environment and choices for consumers while recognizing that there is always a need for improvement. Our farmers and ranchers continue to face new challenges, including erratic weather patterns and global competition, so it is critical that we maintain our investment in and adoption of new technologies. From the cotton gin to the mechanical reaper to innovative crop protection tools, gene-edited foods, and precision agriculture, new advancements in technology are the keys to sustainably growing our food and fiber and driving our economy forward.
By Gloria Dittus, Chairman, Story Partners