How the USDA could help foster a technological ‘revolution’ in agriculture

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A tractor utilizes precision fertilizer and herbicide application technology

Anyone paying passing attention to the agricultural sector understands that it is in the middle of an “agtech” revolution. Innovations are coming fast and furious. AgFunder reported a total of $16.9 billion in agtech funding in 2018 compared to $2.36 billion in 2014 — equal to 63.5% average annual growth in agtech funding over this 5-year window.

Innovations range from microbial seed treatments to on-farm robots, from reimagined agricultural marketplaces to data-driven farm management systems, from indoor farms to protein burgers.

USDA’s stated vision is “to provide economic opportunity through innovation … to promote agriculture production … to preserve our Nation’s natural resources.” Could they help drive agtech innovation?

Related article:  Making sense of the patchwork US regulatory system for genetically engineered crops and animals

The Farm Bill has incorporated a variety of programs over the last 15-to-20 years that aim to improve on-farm adoption of environmentally beneficial practices, including:

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG)

We can help drive US agricultural productivity in a difficult time for the sector, fuel continued innovation in the agtech arena, and facilitate the transition of novel technologies to the farm.

The law is wide open; it’s only a question of USDA leadership.

Read full, original article: USDA Could Help Pave the Way for Farmtech Adoption: Where are you Sonny Perdue?

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