The Future of Farming (It’s Perfect)

Ted Talk by Brent Loken: Can we create the “perfect” farm?

This Ted Talk animation by Brent Loken demonstrates the many different ways we can create perfect farms around the world using modern technology. Humans have been farming for 10,000 years and over time we have found new ways to create more and better crops efficiently. However, this has come at the “expense of forests, wildlife, water, and the destabilization of the climate” says Loken. But what if there was a way to continue to produce more and better crops even more efficiently while also protecting biodiversity, preserving water, and reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions?

Loken believes it is possible by “intertwining crops with livestock and wild habitats” which will not only create a farm more self-sustaining but reverse the damage that conventional farming has caused from clearing lands, eradicating wildlife, and emitting huge amounts of greenhouse gases. Loken’s second answer is to use modern technology. Using a fleet of drones, farmers can monitor their crops. They can also use a team of field robots to apply fertilizers to crops in targeted doses. Then underground, inside the soil of the crops, are hundreds of sensors that can collect data on nutrients and water levels. This will not only preserve water by giving crops only what is needed but also tell farmers which parts need more or less fertilizer, preventing them from showering fertilizer all over where it is unnecessary and causes pollution. Using technology for farming will help produce better quality food while also working with the environment instead of against it.

“ Future agriculture will use sophisticated technologies such as robots, temperature and moisture sensors, aerial images, and GPS technology. These advanced devices and precision agriculture and robotic systems will allow farms to be more profitable, efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly” (Wyman).

Many farms today have already taken on some of these practices. For example, in Costa Rica, farmers have intertwined farmland with the natural habitat and have seen major improvements since. It has provided food and habitat for wildlife as well as pollination and pest control from birds and insects. In the United States, ranchers let their cattle graze on grasslands with native species creating finer protein and using better production methods that store carbon and create biodiversity. In Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Nepal, they are experimenting with new strains of rice, using less water for farming, and adopting less labor-intensive ways of planting seeds. The farmers have had an increase in income, crop yields, and cut down a lot in greenhouse gas emissions. Then in India, where 40% of their produce usually gets wasted due to poor infrastructure, farmers are starting to use solar-powered cold storage capsules to help preserve their crops.

These methods not only optimize food production and feed humanity, but also save the planet. Although this will take a global effort to truly make a difference, as Loken said, “this is the future of farming”.

See Brent Loken’s Ted Talk here:

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