Question: How does your job support modern agriculture in America?
I will begin my essay by defining what modern agriculture in America is. A few decades ago you could see acres of potato fields literally colored in blue due to the intensive use of “old fashioned” chemical treatment, mainly copper-based disease control product. Indeed, at that time, crop protection programs were far from what they are today, and you may have ended up with product which could be over agronomic efficient dosage by several kilograms per acres. Today, you can effectively protect an entire field with one single teaspoon of powder. Modern agriculture is based on new compounds with active ingredients and formulations that have been improved by years of research. A key part of modern agriculture, which might become even more important in the near future, is the use of bio-engineered crops. Finding solutions to combat “super weeds,” or weeds that are able to protect themselves from insects, disease or abiotic stresses, are precisely where my job meets with the requirements of modern agriculture.
The United States are amongst the biggest corn and soybean producers in the world. These two crops are involved in many ways in every little detail of our day-to-day lives, from food to plastic material and so on. As a cell biologist, my duty is to perform the initial genetic transformation of these plants. The commercialization of a plant product takes up to 10 years, the same as a regular crop protection product as mentioned in many articles I’ve read through the Tell Me More program. I’m localized at the beginning of this development process. The main part of my job is to generate thousands of genetically engineered plants per year. These plants are part of different programs related to plant protection: insect, disease, and stress. I have a unique opportunity to be part of a very complex and strictly regulated industry, standing on the first step of the research/development/commercialization ladder.
I like to think that the world’s food supply chain, as it is today, cannot rely only on chemicals. We have to come up with alternative solutions to feed a growing population with limited space dedicated to agriculture. About 40 percent of today’s potential crop production is lost because of biotic and abiotic stresses, weeds and diseases. This gap can be filled by smart agriculture based on the optimized use of top-quality pesticides crop protection products and bio-engineered plants. I’m convinced that research made by companies like mine will bring this set of solutions.
And that’s how my job supports modern agricultureOr, I would rather say, the future of agriculture.