Today, October 21, 2015, is the day the movie Back to the Future II was set to take place when it was shot and released in 1989.
For those of you that aren’t aware, this movie is about the adventures of a time traveler as he travels 26 years into the future to protect his future children from trouble. Needless to say some of the things predicted in the movie, like the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series, were completely preposterous (at the time). Well today, October 21, 2015, the Chicago Cubs are vying for their chance at winning it all. First time playing in the post-season since 2008.
Twenty-Six years ago, we were just beginning to find our stride in biological farming. With many, many years of research and experience, 26 years ago is when it all came together. 26 years. We had combines, but we had to physically drive them at all times. Auto-steer wasn’t invented. We had no fancy cell phones to connect with everyone on our team. We had to physically talk with them.
Photo credit: Back to the Future II movie
Now, 26 years later, we don’t even have to be in our combines to drive them. We can connect with multiple people by the click of a button. We’ve even experienced the hover board and automatic shoe-lace concepts that were referred to in the movie as well.
Who knows what we’ll be experiencing in another 26 years, but we have some pretty lofty dreams in agriculture:
“In the year 2041, agriculturalists will have realized that insects and disease are not the result of a pesticide deficiency or lack of genetic traits. They will have found soil health and proper crop nutrition do a much better job of protecting plants from both insects and disease. We’ll also have learned that the resultant plants have a much higher nutrient density and are greatly beneficial to the livestock and humans that eat them, helping to improve human health. The medical field will also look at nutrition as the first line of defense for human health instead of what the pharmaceuticals used in the past.” – Ken Musselman, AER Agronomist
“I want a scanner like on Star Trek, where you just point it at the soil and plants, and it knows exactly what is needed in microbes and fertility for maximum health. Then a fleet of drones (with scanners) hovering over the fields will be spraying on the right stuff instantly.” – Gary Campbell, AER Agronomist
“I’d like to see small individual machines that run by themselves in between the rows, operated by GPS and sensors. These machines will then come back to the mother machine to fill up when empty. They could be designed to do a number of things – dry or liquid fertilizer, spread or drill cover crops, light cultivation, mowing, flaming etc. This would also help mitigate compaction.” – Eric Johnston, AER Agronomist
“With all these small machines, scanners, drones, sensors…I’d like to see a method that automatically keeps track of the expenses for every single application, product, tillage, etc. as that process is completed!!! With it being so individualized, that the expenses could be viewed for the entire farm, and then ‘drilled down’ by field, by acre, by crop. You would then have records showing the costs/income for every area (big or small) of ground that is farmed in a way that could be easily analyzed and compared along with information for projections. All of this to be done automatically without any human input, so there is no chance of information or costs slipping through the cracks. All while the farmer is having his second cup of coffee!” – Annette Lord, AER Accountant
“I’d like to see a machine that takes a picture of your garden and/or freezer filled with farm fresh meat that does all your meal planning for you. It will break out an entire week of meals using what you have available. That would almost make cooking fun!” – Katlyn Sanden, AER Communication Strategist
What would you like to see in the year 2041? Leave your ideas in the comments below!