SAN DIEGO, CA The future of farming will mean more specialty foods, including organic, and more ramped up technology, said a panel discussion at the annual meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation, the largest U.S. farm lobby group, held in San Diego last month.
“What I see happening five to 15 years out is promising results in insect control, agronomic traits and soybeans,” said Jerry Flint, DuPont Pioneer vice-president of regulatory and industry affairs. DuPont anticipates tremendous growth in its soybean products, he said.
Trevor Mecham, director of CNH Industrial Precision Solutions and Telematics, said the companys Case IH division is already implementing precision tractor controls inspired by the auto industry and predicted further innovations like park-assist, GPS tracking and wireless data access.
“When we think about the decade ahead of us, people think of driverless tractors, but from a practical standpoint were probably not quite there,” Mecham said. “But autosteering was a mind-blowing concept only 15 years ago and today it can be done wirelessly.”
The panel included Tom Leech, senior vice-president of global food and consumable sourcing for Walmart, who said consumer trends drive Walmart decisions. The publics appetite for organic, GMO-free, gluten-free and locally-sourced, sustainable foods will continue to grow, Leech predicted.
Leech also said that educating the public about the science behind genetically-modified organisms will be key to increasing their public acceptance.
“Walmarts position is to be as transparent as possible,” Leech said. “Were trying to reduce misinformation. We give them the information to make their own choice.