We hope this brief glimpse at a few of the significant agricultural events of the 20th century has been informative and interesting. Over the past 100 years, the U.S. agricultural sector has become one of the most productive in the world, and citizens of this country have become accustomed to a safe and relatively inexpensive supply of food.
Despite the sharp decline in the number of citizens involved in production agriculture over the past century, there is a recognition that families involved in farming and the diversity of farm operators are important to the cultural identity of our country. The farming and ranching lifestyle is still believed to be an important and virtuous endeavor, worthy of our continued support. Evidence of this can be seen in the popularity of farmers' markets, where consumers can get back in touch with those producers who are the source of the food they consume.
What revolutionary changes are in store for agriculture in the foreseeable future? We will likely see continued specialization and growth in the areas of sustainable agriculture, organic farming, niche farming, and direct marketing. The promise for genetic engineering to lower costs, improve production, and reduce the impact of farming on the environment still must be realized. A trend toward biobased energy products, as an alternative to those made from petroleum, could have a profound impact on the future role of agriculture in this country. The increasing use of technology, such as computers and global positioning systems, in the production and marketing of commodities also provides a glimpse of what is to come.
Last modified: 08/11/09