In the past few decades, we have seen advances in biotechnology and data analysis. Now those two advancements may be coming together to spark yet another green revolution. The mechanical revolution and hybrid seeds were the major advances in agriculture in the 20th century. In the 21st century, it has been biotechnology and big data that have changed the way we farm.
The major advances in the future will come from combining all these in new and different ways. According to Robb Fraley, Chief Technology officer with Monsanto, “Bringing together biotechnology in the seeds and plants with the data we are collecting with precision agriculture, drones, and sensors, we will be able to increase production and minimize agriculture’s footprint on the environment.”
Fraley says this next revolution in agriculture will help us find solutions to some of most pressing problems including increasing food production to feed the growing world population while lessening our environmental impact. “We need to make decisions today on the technology that will allow us to farm better, more efficiently, and productively, he stated. “The key will be learning to produce more with less.” He believes the next technology to impact agriculture will also help us deal with some of the challenges we face from climate change.
But, Fraley points out that we must keep consumers informed as we advance this new food production technology, “The science alone is not enough. We must have a consumers’ trust and enter into a dialogue with them about the new technology and why we need to use it.”
He added companies, like Monsanto, must be more open to a dialogue with consumers in order to keep the public’s trust in the new technology.