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The Future, Agriculture & You

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I believe in the future of farming, with a faith born not of words but of deeds. Do you?

Because you are reading this, you probably have some interest in agriculture. What is your interest? How did you answer the previous question? The point of these questions is to make you thinkthink about change, think about the future of agriculture, and think about the role you envision playing in agriculture's future.

Change is evident all around us. I am old enough to vividly remember the first space flights, just rocket shots by today's standards. The point is, I think it is obvious that we are experiencing one of the most rapidly changing periods mankind has ever known. Technological and structural changes are affecting all industries and societies throughout the world. Agriculture in the United States and agricultural producers are no exception to the trend: they face an operational environment that literally changes daily. At no time in our history have so many held such differing views of American agriculture. Within our own borders are the extremes of industrialized agriculture versus what I refer to as modernized existence farming. Many part-time farmers espouse the virtues of an agrarian lifestyle and strive to take their place near this end of the continuum. At the other end, those relying on production agriculture for all or most of their income are being forced to adopt an industrialized approach to stay in business.

As I ponder the changes that are rapidly driving agriculture into the future, I find the ranking of the top twentieth-century changes recently reported in Farm Journalboth interesting and insightful. Many of the changes listed provided conveniences for farmers and would probably be taken for granted by all today. The ones I perceive to be the springboards to the future (computers, gene technology, Internet, precision farming [global positioning system, or GPS], and accounting software) ranked eighth, fifteenth, twenty-fourth, sixtieth, and eighty-fourth, respectively!

The Noble Research Institute Agricultural Division recognizes the magnitude of the changes facing each of you in these dynamic times. In the near future, we will publicize changes we are making to serve you better.

Thought for the month: "Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or to lose." Lyndon B. Johnson