Name: Remington Zacher
Essay Theme: Cultivating New Technologies
State: North Dakota
School: Parshall High School
Agriculture Thrives on Technology
Wouldn't it be a blast to farm in space? This idea has been tossed around and the technology to do so is being pursued, but I think it would be smart to perfect technology on Earth first.
When you think about farming, most people think of a farmer working in the field, when in fact, farming is far from "just" that. My dad claims, "Working in the field is the best part of my job," and as a 12 year old who is just starting to farm, I think fieldwork is great.
Farmers today must farm many acres in order to survive. Some of them hire help, but others would rather do fieldwork themselves. In order for farmers to stay in the field, they must be able to run their equipment efficiently, minimize office work, and use technology to keep their business profitable.
Some of the technology used today includes global positioning systems (GPS). This technology aids farmers so they won't overlap-saving them time, money, and effort. Since the development of GPS, farmers can measure the bushels they produce per acre, which aids them in site-specific farming. A nice addition to this system would be technology that could measure the quality of the grain being harvested. If farmers could use laptop computers linked to satellites that obtain grain prices from area elevators, farmers would be able to market their grain as they harvest it.
Another system that could work hand-in-hand with GPS is an on-the-go soil-sampling system. Farmers could sample their soil as they do fieldwork, in the exact same location every year. Advanced Technology would allow the farmer to analyze nutrients available, determine what needs to be added for the next year's crop, and know what chemical residues were left in the soil.
It would also help farmers if technology could help determine which crops would be most profitable on certain pieces of land. As farmland comes up for sale or rent it would be helpful to know the highest price they would dare bid in order to keep farming profitable.
Weather is another unpredictable factor that hurts farmers. I realize weathermen are doing what they can and that cloud modification is conducted in some areas, but technology needs to be perfected to help farmers prepare for good and bad weather.
When I'm a senior in high school, politicians will be trying to convince me to stay in North Dakota, and my father will probably want me to farm. However, technology has made many other jobs more attractive. When choosing a career, most people want to know their salary; for example, if teachers knew that they could lose money after years of teaching, would they still want to teach? Certainly technology will be developed so farming becomes an attractive occupation for many generations. My grandmother calls farming "a million dollar business that's run off the kitchen table." I call that a need for technology!
Bata, Patricia. 2002. Personal communication.
Zacher, Chris. 2002. Personal communication.
This essay was part of a 2003 essay contest sponsored by Council for Agricultural Science & Technology. Click here to see how essays were selected.