MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - With a new year and a new decade right around the corner, we’re taking time to reflect on a decade of agricultural advancements and changes in the industry.
“The food and agriculture industry are changing faster than any point ever in history,” said Greenseam director, Sam Ziegler.
The past decade in agriculture has brought technological advancements.
“Things like auto steer on tractors and combines that were really pretty new at the beginning of the decade and now they’re pretty much standard procedures out there and now those advancements continue,” said farm management analyst at MinnStar Bank in Lake Crystal, Kent Thiesse.
Genetic improvement in crops and livestock also took the stage during the decade.
“To have healthier animals, faster growing, to have crops that can withstand rocky times... I mean, this past year, which everybody remembers very well, farmers didn’t have a good crop at all, but we still had a respectable crop and you have to give credit to the genetics,” said Ziegler.
All of this occurred while crop and livestock prices reached new highs in the beginning of the decade and new lows along with trade complications highlighting depressed prices the last years of the decade.
“I don’t think most people realize that 40 percent of our 'ag’ exports were going to three countries, China, Mexico and Canada until the last couple years when we have trade issues with all three of those countries at the same time, and we definitely saw the impact it had on our grain and livestock markets,” said Thiesse.
While most markets saw continuous fluctuation in prices and cost of production throughout the decade, a new industry made leaps and bounds thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill.
“Hemp has been something that, beginning of the decade was kind of a nasty word in most people’s mind, but by the end of the decade it’s now viewed as an alternative crop,” said Thiesse.
Minimal tillage methods and the inclusion of cover crops have grown throughout the decade as farmers look to be stewards of the land and earth’s natural resources, and with trade talks and agreements rounding out the year, the decade is ending on a high note.
“Agreement with U.S., Mexico, Canada, agreement with Japan on beef over 30 months of age to be exported there, which was closed when BSE started, so that’s been a long period of time, and we’re going in with dialogue with China,” said Ziegler.