With the growing demand for food and fiber from an increasing global population, agriculture is continually challenged to do more with less. One of the things necessary to make this happen is technology, and U.S. farmers lead the world in the implementation of biotechnology. Jay Lehr is the Science Director of The Heartland Institute, an agricultural think tank.
“We have fourteen thousand six hundred and fifty miles of rivers to transport our crops around the country. We have three hundred thirty-three million acres of contiguous farmland to produce our food and we have a consumer output and input that is larger than the next six countries in the world which is to say we can live on our own without exporting and without importing which is a good thing.”
Lehr says that the United States continues to be the leader in agriculture.
“We will take advantage of the new technology called CRISPER which is a way of moving around genes in our crops to improve their health and nutrition. We are now able to monitor our soil with subsurface monitors every four inches down to forty-eight inches to help us understand irrigation or help us understand where we are in a rain cycle. We are using drones now to inspect the health of our crops.”
Lehr believes that the technology in agriculture is more advanced than any industry in America.
“Telecommunications wise, information, informatics wise, what is going on at universities like Texas A&M to improve our nutrition. Eventually, through CRISPER and genetic modification, we’re going to be able to match our seeds to the soil in which we plant them. It’s absolutely astounding.”