Despite being one of the oldest (if not the oldest) industries in human history, agriculture—and, by extension, agrochemicals—still plays a major role in driving progress. The reason being that, on a basic level, the food that farms create is necessary for civilization to thrive.
However, feeding the world’s population is not the only way in which agriculture promotes growth. From an economic perspective, it contributes to the proliferation of jobs, the development of new technologies, and the strength of commerce.
Obviously, all industries create jobs, and agriculture is no exception. Although many of the processes that once relied on human workers have become automated, farms have by no means reached the same level of automation as some modern factories and manufacturing plants. Farmers are still essential, and the food they grow provides jobs for the people involved in the many branches of the food industry, including packaging, shipping, selling, and advertising.
In fact, by keeping people fed, farms ensure that societies have citizens with the necessary motivation and health to participate in the economy.
These truths only scratch the surface of how the agricultural industry sparks growth and strengthens the overall global community, but the problem is that many people have a notion that farming is inherently “old-fashioned” work. While they may be able to realize and accept how it creates jobs and stabilizes the economy, they might not consider how it also drives technological development.
Take, for instance, unmanned drone technology. The average person probably thinks of drones as either military weapons or consumer gadgets. They might not know that drones are becoming increasingly useful in farming. Unmanned aircraft give farmers the ability to efficiently monitor their crops, distribute agrochemicals where needed, and identify areas where food growth is limited by competing plants, illness, or pests. As more and more farmers embrace this technology, more companies will work toward inventing new tools and applications for it.
This, in turn, could spark further growth in infrastructure. One of the primary barriers keeping farmers from implementing drones more frequently in their operations is a fundamental infrastructure problem. While these vehicles theoretically assist in a farmer’s work by relaying data and images wirelessly, in many of the more rural areas where farms are based, there aren’t enough cell towers to facilitate this type of communication on a reliable basis. These regions tend to be more sparsely populated than major urban centers, and as such, wireless carriers lack the incentive to build up the necessary infrastructure.
Now, however, that is likely to change. As wireless companies recognize an increased demand for service in areas where farmers might employ drones in their operations, they’ll be more likely to erect more towers. The result is easy to anticipate: more work for the business leaders who run these companies, more jobs for the lower-level employees involved in tasks like site acquisition and permitting, more profit for the architecture firms that design the towers, and greater opportunities for the construction workers who actually do the critical work of building the facilities. That’s not even mentioning the additional work available to construction firms that bid on the projects, environmental groups that inspect the properties prior to the building of the structure, and attorneys whose jobs often involve negotiating lease agreements between the property owners and the wireless carriers.
Even without calculating the estimated effect this would have on the overall economy, it’s easy to see how this process benefits people from all walks of life, be they lifelong farmers, managers at wireless companies, lawyers, or construction workers. For instance, if farmers weren’t creating the demand for this type of technology, there would be fewer opportunities for the people involved in developing it, and the people who would enjoy greater job security thanks to the new cell tower construction projects would instead have to compete for jobs.
That initial demand is crucial, and without agriculture the process would never be set in motion. Most people already understand that farms contribute to society by keeping the people of the world fed. That said, it’s important to understand how agriculture continues to promote civilization’s growth to this day. It’s practically impossible to overstate the importance of its role in the economy, and it’s essential that citizens of the world—and the politicians they elect—recognize this truth.