Agriculture

Advances in Agriculture in America and Around the World

Things are getting better.

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Last week, Case IH, a manufacturer of agricultural equipment, unveiled a prototype of a farm tractor that can plant, monitor crops, and harvest without a driver. In the future, "autonomous vehicles" could complete the process of mechanization of American farming, thereby further increasing U.S. agricultural productivity. The negative effects of increased mechanization on the labor market should be minimal, since only 1.5 percent of the American labor force works in the agricultural sector. Conversely, productivity improvements in agriculture could increase positive effects on the environment. As Jesse H. Ausubel writes, "agriculture has always been the greatest destroyer of nature, stripping and despoiling it, and reducing acreage left." Thus, if humanity can further increase crop yields—since 1940, the American farmers have quintupled corn production while using the same or even less land—some of the agricultural land could be returned to nature. Globally, adoption of American farming techniques could increase agricultural productivity so much that a landmass the size of India could be returned to nature—without compromising food supply to our apparently "peaking" global population.

1. U.S. agricultural output has been growing…

2. …even though very few Americans still work in agriculture.

3. As a result of increasing farm productivity, food prices have been declining.

4. Today Americans spend less on food as a share of their income than even before…

5. …and they get to consume more calories.

6. Globally, food prices are lower today than what they were in 1960.

7. As a result, people around the world consume more calories.

8. And, in spite of global population increase, the use of land for agricultural purposes has peaked around the year 2000.

Editor's Note: This article has been edited for clarity.

Check out more charts like this at HumanProgress.org

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17 responses to “Advances in Agriculture in America and Around the World

  1. Given that the U.S. population has grown substantially since 1950, I would guess that the total number of people working in agriculture hasn’t actually dropped all that much (if at all). Moreover, since most of that population growth has manifested in urban areas, agricultural employment rates in rural areas have probably been fairly stable, too. So, farming remains just as important as ever as a source of employment outside of the cities.

    Whether that really matters or not is a different and more complex question to answer.

    1. Robo-tractors will rule the rural landscape.
      And when they decide to stop feeding the fat, balding monkeys – that will be an interesting day.

      1. Robots can’t decide anything, by definition. But if the balding monkeys forget how to do the preventive maintenances on them because they were too busy doing Social Justice shit, THEN we will see an interesting day.

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  2. only 1.5 percent of the American labor force works in the agricultural sector.

    About the same as works in the hip-hop sector, then?

    1. *woot*

  3. Yea! More food we can plow under to keep the price of food up. Plow ready jobs to the rescue.

    1. No, no! Plowing under is so 1930s….Nowwe mandate the food be turned into highly polluting, inefficient fuel!

  4. . Today Americans spend less on food as a share of their income than even before…

    Too many Kulaks. We clearly need socialism.

  5. All they need now is to develop fruit and vegetable picking machines and the open borders types can stop writing doom and gloom stories about how we are going to starve without large numbers of immigrant pickers.

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  8. Leave Malthus alone!

  9. RE: Advances in Agriculture in America and Around the World

    Yes there has been advances in agriculture here and abroad. Fortunately, our obvious betters have made a needless, useless and counter-productive bureaucracy called the Department of State Agriculture to ensure the politically connected will make sure these wonderful innovations do not reach the little people anywhere on the globe. One can take pleasure and be at ease knowing that our kind and benevolent ruling class turds have made sure the only people who will benefit from such new ideas will be themselves and their cronies. More good news for the collective. Big Ag will continue to extort more tax dollars from the untermenschen of our benign socialist slave state in the form of subsidies to those who were prudent enough to give some “campaign contributions” to the ruling elites who are on the agricultural and farming committees in our beloved Politburo in Washington, DC. Yes, millions, if not billions of dollars will given to wealthy farmers not to plant certain crops and, even better yet, not to grow any crops at all. Isn’t that wonderful? Millionaire farmers will not have to go hungry tonight because our socialist slaving turds enslaving us all make sure they make millions of dollars every year to do something they are intended to do, ie grow crops.
    Yes, indeed, kiddies, we can sleep well tonight that cronyism is still alive and well in our beloved socialist slave state.

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