“Think growth! Think optimism! Think like a farmer!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
Obviously my keynote this morning is for the agricultural industry – I’m headlining the DTN Ag Summit in Chicago for about 700 farmers, agricultural specialists, ag companies and crop consultants.
It’s a fascinating industry – my theme is ‘Agriculture 2045”, or what the industry might look like some 30 years from now.
I’ll be talking about 24 hour farming using autonomous tractors, virtual farming, robotic pickers, smart insects, micro-climate irrigation and more. There is just so much going on in this industry – and all of the things above are already happening to a degree.
Their innovative mindset has led to some huge new realities:
– corn yields have gone from 39 bushels to 153 per acre in the last 50 years
– farmers produce 44% more milk with 65% fewer cows than 1944
– soil erosion is down 32% from 1928 – today an acre of land supports one human life
– that will decrease to 1/3 acre within 35 years
– output of eggs and poultry have increased 411% from 1948 to 1994
– this year, the US posted the longest stretch of falling food prices in 50 years, due to advances in agriculture
– when planning each year, farmers must select from thousands of potential seed varietals, each tailored to particular geographic, soil and other characteristics
– it’s hugely science driven
It’s a fast moving industry, and it provides a perfect example to many other industries on how to be relentlessly innovative.
Will my talk work? Some folks think I’m a farmer! I spent so much time customizing the presentation for one agricultural conference that at the conclusion, one fellow came up and asked him how long I had been a farmer!