Companies involved in agriculture have funded one hundred million dollars of research over the last ten years in a partnership with Texas A&M Agrilife Research to insure that advanced technology remains in the pipeline so that agriculture producers can meet the challenges they face to feed the world’s growing population. Bob Avant is Director for Corporate Relations for Texas A&M Agrilife Research.
“Being involved in major corporate research has enabled us to have a window on what technology might look like ten years from now, not necessarily today, but where is agriculture headed ten years from now.”
Avant points out that it takes anywhere from five to eight years to come out with a new plant variety.
“And so a big, big area is going to be advances in plant science and having, if you will, smart crops that can be more resilient, resilient against stress, insects, and also produce better yields and higher quality.”
Avant says the other area is equipment systems and precision and prescription applications.
“You do want to get equipment that can get you in and out of the field quickly, and I think the weather patterns indicate to us for planters in Central Texas, and certainly the Brazos Valley, we want to get in and out of that field planting as quick as we can and we probably have about a ten day window to get it done. Then you start having decreased yields and all sorts of issues.”
Avant also says that GMOs are an important part of feeding the future world population.
“I guess there’s always going to be the conflict with people that are convinced that genetically modified materials for some reason are not good. There’s no science to back that up at all. In fact, if we’re going to feed nine billion people on this earth, I think we have to have genetically modified materials, so the people that oppose genetically modified materials are going to have to make up their mind. Are they willing to allow starvation in the world, or are they willing to let us use these tools in out tool box to produce food for nine billion people?