Question: What do you think is the biggest public misconception about agriculture? How would you help to fix it?
In my opinion, the biggest public misconception about agriculture is that it’s all about life on the farm! Many people think of agriculture and visions of farmers wearing overalls driving a John Deere tractor way out in the country come to mind. I think most people generally lack an understanding of how science and research impacts agriculture. I would hope to correct this misconception as being an old fashioned way of life by illustrating how scientific research and discovery advances agriculture. By educating the general population that agriculture is a progressive science that leads to improving the quality of life of people all over the world, and one day will even alleviate hunger by developing improved crops.
The discovery of new traits in the research labs leads to crops that are resistant to disease and pests, which improves yield and results in higher production with decreased reliance on harmful chemicals. Furthermore, the development of safer pesticides and herbicides provides healthier choices that improve quality of life for humans, and native flora and fauna. Scientific discovery is imperative for this to occur, and agriculture not only refers to farming these crops but also incorporates the fields of genetics, biology, chemistry, crop science, engineering, and other sciences. Improvements in technology lead to better farming methods, more precise and reliable equipment and materials, and an overall improvement in the quality of foods produced. Without researchers working every day in the labs, farmers and consumers would suffer from the use of antiquated farming methods and equipment, and crops that are susceptible to disease, drought, and pests.
The fact is we would all go hungry if agriculture was in fact an old fashioned way of life, but thankfully we get to take advantage of the progressive science behind farming!
Research Triangle Park, NC