To­day’s farm­ers use sci­ence to en­hance their busi­ness

Stanstead Journal - - TOWNSHIP'S TAGRICULTURE -­

(NC)—When most peo­ple think of farm­ing, they don’t think high-tech, but that’s a mis­take.

“Farm­ing is a very mod­ern busi­ness,” says Lorne Hep­worth, pres­i­dent of Cro­pLife Canada, the trade as­so­ci­a­tion rep­re­sent­ing Canada’s plant sci­ence in­dus­try. “It has been for decades, but for some rea­son the im­age still per­sists of the farmer in his over­alls chew­ing on a piece of straw.”

Agri­cul­ture re­ally moved into the mod­ern era start­ing in the mid-1940s when sci­ence and tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments helped to more than dou­ble ma­jor crops yields

in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. These ad­vance­ments have been cred­ited with sav­ing the lives of more than a bil­lion peo­ple.

Since then, agri­cul­ture has con­tin­ued to thrive as a re­sult of on-go­ing in­vest­ments in re­search and de­vel­op­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study, Cana­dian farm­ers re­al­ize an ad­di­tional eco­nomic ben­e­fit of about $8 bil­lion a year as a re­sult of us­ing pest con­trol prod­ucts and plant biotech­nol­ogy to in­crease crop yields and qual­ity.

Those same in­creases have pos­i­tive im­pacts on other sec­tors of the econ­omy as well, adding an ad­di­tional $6.4 bil­lion in eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity for sec­tors such as pro­cess­ing, ship­ping and man­u­fac­tur­ing as well as 97,000 full-time spin-off jobs.

“Sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy re­ally are in­te­gral to agri­cul­ture these days,” says Hep­worth.

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