The Association of Equipment Manufacturers will highlight the technology and innovation in American agriculture on the National Mall for National Ag Day. AEM’s Celebration of Modern Agriculture on the National Mall – set for Monday, March 21 and Tuesday, March 22 – will take place outside USDA headquarters. Nick Tindall, AEM Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs, says the event allows policymakers to learn about agriculture.
“Sustainability, climate smart ag, is just a really increasingly important topic in Washington DC, and we’re doing this so we can show folks, both the general public influencers and policymakers, that technology in agriculture is a good thing.”
The slogan of the event is “Innovation Enables Sustainability.” Tindall says the technology driving sustainability will be on display.
“Every year farmers refine and get better at what we do, and technology and science is a key part of that. So, we’ve got some really innovative sprayer technologies with AI driven targeting, we have an autonomous prototype planter, a one row fully autonomous planner that’s going to take it to the next level. We have great displays on the latest and greatest in not just gene technology, but showing how those plants have evolved crossed a millennia.”
He says innovation and technology is key to the sustainable future of American agriculture. “It’s almost cliche to say that farmers were the first conservationists. I’m a farm kid from Iowa, my family farm has been in it for generations. And I know my grandfather and my father, no one cared more about the land than they do, and they want to do it right so that the next generation can do it better. And you’re just not going to be able to feed nine billion people in the world of 2050 without the technology because the technology is what makes it sustainable, producing more food on less land with less water, less energy and other critical inputs.”
Tindall says the event gives policymakers and the general public a chance to see what it takes to grow farm products today.
“I want them to come and just see what the reality is of modern production agriculture. A lot of folks have this idealistic view of farming being a very simple operation. But you come here, and you’ll see that it’s a data driven computer operation, precision application, other great sciences that all go into feeding people, because at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. And outside of the defense industry, there isn’t a sector that’s more technologically intensive than American production agriculture.”
Tindall hopes lawmakers learn how important technology and innovation is to family farms.
“I think what they don’t understand is that it’s still a family business. Farms have gotten bigger, and that’s why the equipment’s gotten bigger. But at the end of the day these are still family operations, that in many cases go back several generations, and that we’re able to do that and they’re able to stay competitive because of technology and the innovations that will be on display.”