He stated that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s origins were rooted in science, and he sees that as the path forward for this sector. The Department of Agriculture was formed in 1862 when Abraham Lincoln dreamt of improving agriculture productivity in the USA. Today, with that same goal in mind, he said, we need to use “science and data-driven decision-making to expand access to productivity.”
Vilsack spoke of the challenges of the current pandemic regarding food supply, the science improvements needed, the need for advanced animal health, and the growing challenges that the climate crisis brings.
“There’s pressure on American agriculture and global agriculture to produce more with less — pressure because of climate, pressure because we’re facing more inclement weather, along with droughts, more severe floods, more severe storms, and more pressing diseases. It will be science and data that will help us deal with those challenges.”
This change can come in the form of new seed technology and drought-resistant crops, and, he said, through vertical farming systems, which can tap into targeted lighting systems to grow crops faster. He also highlighted precision technologies such as drones and sensors, which can be a dynamic path forward for the industry as well as the use of renewable energy on farms.
The World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit raised many interesting discussions on these vital agritech topics. Major agricultural companies such as Bayer, Koch Agronomic Services, Syngenta, and Nutrien contributed to this educational and informational event.