Dr. Dave Mayonado came to our class to talk about technology in agriculture. He works for Bayer, which bought Monsanto. He had grown up uninvolved in agriculture and majored in chemistry, which ended up being helpful in weed science and herbicides.
In the past, farming was very labor intensive and hands-on. Families would have lots of children in order to have enough labor to run the farm. Many kids did not go to school and instead worked on their family farm. In 1862, the Morrill Acts were passed, which funded land grant universities, which taught agriculture and science. Research stations were then built in ever state which were connected to the universities and researched crops. Increases in crop yields were a direct response to the data these research stations found. Advancements in chemical aspects of farms, such as fertilizers and pesticides, also aided farmers. Now, we have found advancements in the biological area with things like GMOs. Corn has been edited to protect itself from specific insects, which reduces the need for insecticides. Other corn has enhanced drought tolerance, which reduces crop losses. Soybeans have been made to produce a vegetable oil that is healthier and is more similar to olive oil, which is much more expensive.