• Agriculture

Agriculture Today: Quashing 5 Common Farming Myths

  • Bear Flag
  • August 18, 2022

Can you visualize how farming looks like today? Perhaps for a typical consumer, farming looks like working on an endless stretch of cornfields, a red barn, or an old gentleman wearing worn-out overalls and holding a pitchfork— the common farmer stereotypes.


It’s no surprise that people picture farming this way. One of the primary reasons for the stereotypical farmer persona is outdated portrayals of farmers on TV or in movies. Plus, most of us don’t spend our days cultivating fields or tending to livestock: farm and ranch households make up fewer than 2% of the US population, and the vast majority of Americans are among the 98% who consume food but do not produce it.


Since we rely on food for our health and well-being, it might be helpful to become aware of how it is produced. Read on to know more about the agriculture industry and its most common farming myths.


From Reel to Real: Debunking 5 Common Farming Myths

Bear Flag wants to help provide a picture of how farmers run their fields today and dispel any agricultural misconceptions. Here are the five most widespread farming myths and the truth behind them:


Myth #1: Farmers are technophobes.

Fact: Farmers use modern technology.


One of the most common agriculture myths is that farmers are old-fashioned, and resent technology. However, like most business owners, farmers recognize there are specific sets of tools that can help them maintain competitiveness. They must be skilled and innovative to successfully run a farming business. And part of this includes investing in smart agriculture and knowing the ropes of agricultural technology.


In fact, the global smart agriculture market was worth USD 14.44 billion in 2021 and is predicted to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 10.8% between 2022 and 2030. This reflects farmers’ know-how in operating and maintaining smart agricultural machinery, such as autonomous tractors.


These internet-connected machines use GPS, sensors, satellite imagery, artificial intelligence, big data, and robotics. Farmers are increasingly adopting these smart machines to promote more efficient agriculture processes and provide volumes of high-quality produce to sustain profits.


Myth #2: Chemicals are overused by farmers.

Fact: Precision agriculture minimize chemical usage.


One of the other persistent farming myths is that chemicals are pure evil; there has been an ongoing argument whether they are safe or not. But in reality, pesticides and fertilizers help farmers produce safe and nutritious food when given in the right quantity.


Precision agriculture is now broadly used in farming to efficiently use resources – including pesticides and fertilizers – on farm fields. This has permitted improved chemical application: instead of treating entire areas for pests and weeds, farmers may use advanced equipment and machines to spray precisely only on vital areas of the field.


Recent technological advances that aid in these processes include high-resolution satellite imaging, unmanned aerial vehicle technology, and remote sensing. In 2021, 25% of farmers in the United States reported using precision agricultural practices to manage crops or livestock.


Myth #3: Farmers are unconcerned about the environment.

Fact: Farmers care about the environment.


Because farming entails using fertilizers, it is also a common farming myth that farmers are not looking after the environment. After all, the use of fertilizers contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. However, the U.S Environmental Protection Authority revealed that agriculture accounts for only 10% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. The report showed that this number is less than half of other sectors’ emissions. For example, transportation has 29% of greenhouse gas emissions, while energy has 25%.


Avoiding the impacts of farming on the environment is also one of the reasons why farmers use modern technology to eliminate the need for extensive use of fertilizers. In effect, farmers reduce agricultural processes’ environmental impact and carbon footprint.


Many other agricultural tools today allow farmers to cultivate crops while looking after the environment. Robotic technology, such as self-driving tractors, is one of them. Because these machines are automated and guided by AI, farmers are able to gather accurate farm health information that results in faster outcomes and less resource consumption. Smart irrigation systems have also gained popularity in recent years and have assisted farmers in conserving water.


Myth #4: Farming is not sustainable.

Fact: Farmers are doing more with less.


The belief that farming is not a sustainable process is another one of the most common farming myths. Being environmentally conscious and practicing sustainable farming are highly interconnected.


Modern agricultural advances today enable farmers to increase crop volumes while promoting the efficient use of resources and environment-friendly processes. Smart farming machines help with this.


The autonomous tractor is an example of a smart machine that promotes sustainability in farming. Autonomous tractors integrate automation and robotic technologies, and use GPS, cameras, and sensors. Through these technologies, farmers can drive more efficient operations and conserve resources.


How? Through the advanced monitoring processes and data that smart farming tools provide, farmers can retain optimum soil conditions and reduce erosion in their fields, conserve water and natural resources, and lower carbon emissions.


Myth #5: Farms are managed by large corporations.

Fact: Most farms are owned by farming families.


According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), over 608 million family farms worldwide occupy between 70% to 80% of all farmlands and produce over 80% of the world’s food in value. The same report also confirmed that five out of every six farms in the world are fewer than two hectares in size and operate on only about 12% of all agricultural land while producing around 35% of the world’s food.
This means that a significant amount of US crops are grown on small farm fields. So the belief that corporations produced the majority of the produce is one of the many common farming myths.


Small-scale family farms continue to be an essential driver of agriculture in the United States, accounting for 98% of all farms and contributing to 88% of production. Mid-sized and huge family farms contribute around 66% of total US production. Meanwhile, non-family farms account for the remaining 2.1% of US farms and 12% of total production.


From Farm To Plate: Understanding Modern Agriculture

Misconceptions and common farming myths are everywhere because a vast majority of us are considered consumers: we buy our food at the supermarket and have little-to-no idea what goes on in the fields where it was grown.


But the fact is: farms today have been increasingly adopting smart farming – using internet connected machines and devices, such as autonomous tractors, AI, GPS, sensors, and cameras. This has paved the way for safer, more environmentally friendly, and more sustainable farming practices.


Understanding modern farming will help us be more informed consumers while also broadening our understanding of this millennium-old industry.


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  • Bear Flag
  • August 18, 2022