Bringing Agriculture to Life – Virtually
By: Randy Krotz, CEO of U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance
Growing food has changed immensely in the last 75 years. Just like every other forward-thinking industry, American agriculture is employing science and technology to help build a smarter version of the American farm. Today’s smart farm uses the latest advances to become faster, more efficient, and more equipped to protect our planet’s resources while still growing and producing the world’s very best food supply.
Our goal is to communicate these breakthroughs to consumers, and it starts in the classroom. The Gen Z generation ̶ a tech-savvy, food enthusiast group ̶ spends more money on food and drinks than anything else, and by 2020, they’ll represent 40 percent of consumers. With this generation seeking out transparency in today’s brands, now is the time for agriculture to be a voice at the table and share the achievements of today’s farms and ranches.
We’re pleased to announce that the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) in conjunction with Discovery Education is hosting the Discovering FARMLAND Virtual Field Trip on April 5th LIVE from Deere & Company World Headquarters in Moline, Illinois. In this Virtual Field Trip, students will have the opportunity to experience the technology and innovations of a smart farm while gaining real-world insights about where their food comes from.
Across America, there is still misperceptions of agriculture, especially the profession itself, from corporate vs family farming and environmentally unsustainable vs highly sustainable food production to the alleged mistreatment of poultry and livestock. Apart from extreme, rare examples, the U.S. has one of the safest food supplies in the world, and we are proud that our crop production and animal welfare practices are a model for the global agricultural community.
Now, students will have the opportunity to learn that technological advances are interwoven through all aspects of farming and ranching; it keeps our animals healthy and comfortable, while guaranteeing our food supply, and ensuring our farms and ranchers are efficient and sustainable. Examples of such innovations include:
- Environmentally-controlled fan systems that circulate fresh air and control ventilation for livestock
- Seeds that dramatically increase yields and protect against weeds, insects and drought
- Sensors that measure soil moisture to conserve water
- Software that analyzes agronomic practices and crop results specific to each farm
With each generation becoming further removed from agriculture, it’s important to bring the facts of farming and ranching to life in urban classrooms through unique learning opportunities, such as this virtual journey, that supports students’ understanding of STEM applications in the real world.
So whether you’re a student, teacher, or a consumer who wants to be more informed about how food is grown and raised today, join us for the virtual field trip on Tuesday, April 5 at 12:00 p.m. CST. You can register at www.discoveringfarmland.com/virtualfieldtrip.