Congress must support new farming techniques
Released at 8:45 pm on Friday, December 2, 2022
Guest column by Henry Tews
Changes in the agricultural industry over the past decade have created enormous opportunities for American farmers. Minnesota is at the forefront of that innovation. Today, Minnesota farmers employ a variety of technologies including driverless vehicles, robots, satellite imagery, sensors, networks and other advanced tools to increase yields. But some members of Congress want to impose short-sighted laws that stifle innovation and destroy the lifeblood of Minnesota’s economy.
Zach Johnson, aka MN Millennial Farmer, expressed his concern over the growing disconnect between farmers and consumers in his first viral YouTube video. His videos now reach more than half a million people around the world with both the rich traditions of Minnesota agriculture and the unfortunate realities of modern farming. Like America’s most successful farmers, Zach continues to innovate in difficult economic times, and his novel approach to farming is leading the way into the future of innovative farming practices. I’m here.
Controversial bills, including America’s Online Choice and Innovation Act, will undermine the ability of farmers like Zack to innovate and adapt to meet the challenges of modern agriculture. should fight to expand economic opportunities for Minnesotans, not impose legislation that holds us back.
With severe flooding in some areas and record fertilizer prices, Minnesota farmers can’t afford to lose efficiency and reduce crop yields. This is especially true for Minnesota farmers, who have long had the burden of pursuing innovations and new technologies that have dramatically increased yields over the years. In the 1970s, producing 50 bushels of wheat per acre was considered a success, but technology and agriculture have come together to make food production safer, more efficient, greener and more sustainable. We are making it more networked. Now is not the time to stifle innovation with false regulations, as private and public R&D will produce new varieties of maize that mature in He 80 to He 90 days instead of 120 or 130 days.
Minnesota continues to attract entrepreneurs and innovators, including five of the top 30 food companies in the United States, and farmers across the nation will face historic challenges. By 2050, the world’s population is estimated to grow from 7.2 billion to 10 billion. As a result, Minnesota has continued to invest in many cutting-edge agricultural technologies. This includes Bloom NanoBubbles, which infuses irrigation water with nanobubbles of oxygen to provide additional nutrients, driverless vehicles that create his 3D models of fields, and his Rowbot that farms autonomously. It turns over soil, protects plants, provides sensors that tell farmers exactly where to plant, and other new technologies.
We’ve seen how technology can make agriculture more profitable, reduce the economic impact of agriculture, and produce the food we need for the future. You can tackle challenges head-on. Agriculture has changed, as one Minnesota farmer who launched a nationally recognized water-saving project said. It wasn’t perfect, but we always tried to do the best we could with technique and precision to meet our standards.
Research shows that adoption of new technologies has been dramatically slowed by political uncertainty, depriving farmers of new tools. Meanwhile, technological innovation has made American farmers the most efficient in the world. Technological advances have helped Minnesota farmers increase productivity while dramatically increasing the resilience of the nation’s food supply. Yet lawmakers continue to push false laws that handcuff farmers and innovators amidst the growing need for food. These efforts will not only hurt American businesses, but also hold back American farmers who use new technologies to transform agriculture.
I urge Minnesota leaders in Congress to resist these short-sighted efforts to harm America’s tech companies at this time when competition around the world is at an all-time high. I ask. Congress must pursue policies that promote new agricultural techniques and encourage the adoption of new agricultural techniques. Failure to do so will harm both farmers and the Americans who depend on them.
Henry Tews is a resident of London Township.
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