How does your job support modern agriculture in America?
Growing up, I was always fascinated with how things work. This fascination has led to a 30+ year career in engineering. Over the years, the technology of how things work has changed significantly. During my career, I have been involved with various business units within Dow AgroSciences and I am amazed at how technology has specifically impacted modern agriculture.
Dow AgroSciences has introduced products with more closely targeted modes of action that can be applied in much lower quantities. Some of the products are not simple to make and sometimes plants producing these products require multiple computer systems which precisely control each step of the manufacturing process. These computers are connected to devices that can detect small changes in plant operation. The computers then quickly and automatically make adjustments to keep things running efficiently while minimizing environmental impact as a result of manufacturing.
Technology has also extended to the crop land where crop protection products are used. Hand-held devices can measure soil conditions and this information can be used to develop a precise formulation and application plan for crop protection products. Equipment with GPS capability and computerized application systems, then precisely control where and how much of the formulation is applied.
As an engineer, I am usually drawn to the high powered technology, but recently I learned how modern agriculture can incorporate simple technology and have a significant impact. In the impoverished areas of some African countries, used grain sacks are being hung from fences and walls, filled with dirt and planted with seeds to grow vegetables. People who rarely have any fresh produce available are now able to meet some of their needs in an inexpensive and sustainable way. Some are even so successful, they are selling crops to their neighbors! This is engineering at its finest. Figure out what technology works, then use it to feed a hungry world. I’m honored to have been able to do my part.