President's Column | The Methods Have Changed But the Tradition RemainsPosted on May 9, 2023
Technology has changed the look of planting season but not the reasons
As farm families across the state continue with spring planting, I’m reminded of how far we have come over the years in this process, from an agricultural technology standpoint, while never losing sight of the reasons we plant a crop.
The methods used decades before advanced technology made its way to the farm, were certainly slower and less productive than today’s modern farming techniques that benefit from things like yield monitors, global positioning systems, satellite connectivity, and instant weather update capabilities, to name a few.
And these advancements haven’t happened overnight. They have come through years of research that allow today’s farmers to plant and harvest more than ever before with fewer inputs on less land.
Advanced technology has made today’s farms so much more productive. In 1960, a farm family provided food for about 25 people. Today, one U.S. farm feeds approximately 166 people annually in this country and abroad.
By the year 2050, the world population will increase by more than two billion people, meaning farms will have to increase production by 70 percent. By the way, less than two percent of the U.S. population is comprised of farmers and ranchers.
This technology available to us now is, essentially, no longer a luxury, but a necessity for producers to meet the world’s demand for food today and in the future.
But make no mistake, the work is still hard, and the days are long, often running into the nights. The window in which each crop must be planted to reap the best yields can sometimes close quickly and we must be productive in our efforts all the while dodging the many different weather conditions we face, especially in the spring.
There are those times when Mother Nature wins out and we have to go back to the drawing board to devise a different plan to make the growing season as prosperous as possible.
Yet, many of us have done this for generations because of tradition and the faith we have in the work we do to fulfill the need for the food we produce.
The anticipation and excitement of a new growing season remain the same for producers as much today as they did so many years ago regardless of the challenges we face; despite the volatile markets which we deal with daily; and in light of the misinformation we combat from those who are far removed from the farm and don’t understand what it takes to raise a crop so they might have regular meals and clothes on their backs.
While it is true that planting a crop today looks much different than the methods used by the generations that came before us, we continue this tradition of farming by raising the most affordable, abundant, and safest food supply in the world. Thanks to all the farm families, today, who have learned from the past and prepare for the future as they continue in this planting season.
Mark Haney, President
Kentucky Farm Bureau