Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Changes in Farming Over 42 Years

As I look back over the past 42 years in the ag supply business, I can see the many advancements we have made as an industry. Seeing where we are now compared to where I started shows a lot of change.

World Population: In 1976 the world population was 4.1 billion with a density of 28 people per square kilometer. Today, in 2018, the world population is 7.6 billion with a density of 58 people per square kilometer. We have nearly doubled our population and more than doubled our density in just 42 years. It is easy to see that as these numbers increase our land base for food production decreases. The food production industries have a world of challenges in their future. I hope it doesn’t come down to the “have and have nots” because in that scenario no one wins.

Crop Protection Companies: When I started my career, there were about a dozen companies providing crop protection products for farmers. Today the big three are Bayer/Monsanto, Syngenta/Chem China, and Dow/Dupont. These three mega entities have combined sales of over $61 billion. There are a few others but these three rule the roost. I really don’t think it helps the end user by having so much of the market controlled by so few players.

Understanding How Plants Work: We have come light years from where we started in 1976. There is very little “broad base” use of fertilizers today as there was before. We understand more of how plants utilize certain nutrients and how to apply what the plant needs more precisely than ever before. We understand that a tall vine is not always the most productive one. It is a simple statement that really does apply to most crops.

American Farmers: I can only speak to what I have seen and have heard; the American farmer is the most efficient food producer in the world. This says a lot about our ag history and our ag future. I can only hope that when my grandchildren get to my age they can say the same.
Overall: I can’t complain. Naturally there have been ups and downs but overall I can’t see myself doing anything elso by my chosen profession. We will leave marks behind us from the lives we have lived. I just hope mine have been more positive than negative.

No comments:

Post a Comment