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Technology on the modern farm

 by Patricia Grotenhuis

So many people seem to look back at the “good old days” as the way things should be now on farms.  That would, however, put an end to the tremendous growth and development we have seen recently.
Technology is everywhere on the farm.  GPS technology was used in tractors and for tracking soil types on farms long before it was common in vehicles.  My parents have had a home computer to do tasks related to the farm for as long as I can remember.  Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, tags are used to track certain livestock species so that if there is a disease outbreak, recalls will be simpler.

Today’s modern farms are technology-dependent.  And in many ways, these technological advancements help the farms become more environmentally conscious.  It is true that today’s farms are dependent on fossil fuels…it would not be possible to feed as many people as we do otherwise.  Farmers are trying to cut back on that reliance, though.
It is not just the farmers who have benefitted from advancements on the farm.  Consumers can now enjoy products year-round that used to be seasonal, such as eggs.  The environment has benefitted from farmers using new equipment and technologies, and investing in green energies.  Animals on the farm have benefitted from larger stalls, improved handling systems and technologies, like alarm systems, that alert the farmers when the power goes off.
There will always be a nostalgia associated with the farms of the past.  When looking at the farms of today, though, we should take notice of the large advancements we have made in caring for the land and animals, and be proud of those changes.  Just think of what the next generation or two of farmers can accomplish!


Posted by Farm and Food Care on March 9th, 2012 :: Filed under Animal care,animal handling,Innovation and technology
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2 Responses to “Technology on the modern farm”

  1. Kim Barkwell
    March 9th, 2012

    We are contract hog finishers and house them in a conventional barn in Alberta. I just met some people that have “organic pigs”. About six sows, run outside year round. Apparently, they farrow outside also and the results are left to fate. “If the baby pigs make it, they make it”. They have a considerable coyote problem also. An example of nostalgia at its worst along with poor animal welfare. Somehow, because these people raise “organic pigs”, they are preceived by many as doing things the right way and we, raising pigs in a controlled and protected environment, are not. It’s maddening!

  2. George Dickenson
    March 11th, 2012

    Although I have many good memories of my youth, I would not want to lose the technology that helps me today. It not only makes me more productive and enviromentally friendly but makes my life easier. My dad said many times he was either born 50 years too early or 50 years too late as technology was developing. He passed away 33 years ago and I often wonder what he would think of our tools today at times like when I am spraying watching a screen to tell me where to drive and the rate controller adjusting the exact flow needed. We also have robots milking cows and auto steer on tractors and combines on some farms. Like Patricia says who knows where another generation or 2 will take us.

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