In listening to Dave speak on all that has changed in agriculture and in the company he works for, Bayer, he focused on four main topics as the beginning of that change. This change was based around tools used to control agricultural pest and managing them. The first of these changes was labor. In the beginning of agriculture labor was highly reliant on animals to pull the tools they needed to plow the fields, followed by someone pushing the tools. In order to collect these crops large groups of people, often families, went out to their crops and would pick one plants that were ready to be harvested. In todays world we are heavily reliant on machinery and fewer people in order to harvest crops. The second main step in this change was mechanics. Steel was a main part to this change, as it became more of a reliant for farmers and their families and yields to the increase of agriculture during the early days. This is what evolved the industry to become more reliant on machinery and allowed the industry to begin the era of tractors. The third piece that impacted early agriculture was the use of chemicals, where they would use small molecules in order to aid to the crops. This allowed chemicals to protect the plants and repel the pests that may be ruining or have the potential to ruin a crop. This was also a time point of no till and chemicals greatly affected this. The final piece to impact agriculture pest management was the biological aspect, where we began using things like GMO’s to give us higher yields using less input. This was also a time of CRISPR (where you can isolate a certain gene) and RNAi (when you could shut off certain genes) which greatly impacted the ability for a farmer to produce more food and to gain higher yields, all to benefit the consumer. Without listening to Dave speak on how important these factors became in the field of agriculture, it could be difficult for one to think back on crop production and to realize just how far it has come.
Dave Mayonado’s lecture was absolutely my favorite this semester, and probably one of my favorite speakers I’ve ever been able to see. I am absolutely intrigued by GMO’s, not only about what they are and how they are developed, but by the public’s perception of them and how easy it is to influence people to think one way or the other. With a major in American Politics, seeing people develop an opinion and never listen to others, is something I see everyday. GMO’s is such a controversial topic, and to see people hear the actual facts about them but still believe that they are dangerous and whatnot is very interesting. Growing up in such a small town that was dominated by agriculture, it is very cool to see GMO’s help small time farmers succeed and profit. GMO’s are safer than I thought and allow more underdeveloped countries to help feed their communities with higher yields and less money going in to keeping a plant alive. I hope that I can continue learning about GMO’s and keeping up to date about new technologies developed.