The Future of Agriculture

Farming is an ancient practice that has been pivotal in the development of civilization. Through a millennia of global advancement, agriculture has seen many changes – from the earliest manual tilling and reaping, to the modern-day adoption of advanced machinery and monitoring systems to increase production and efficiency. In the wake of climate change and the pending global population boom, the agricultural industry has to continue adapting to shifting environmental, economic, and societal needs. To keep up with the competition, farms must turn to science, technology, and innovation to remain successful and environmentally sustainable.

In this article, we’ll discuss the various avenues of scientific and technological advances that have contributed to the growth of modern agriculture, and some future predictions of the industry.

History of the Revolution in Agriculture Technology 

Since the turn of the 20th century, agriculture has seen many advancements in technology. We have seen marked increases in production and efficiency over the years, partially attributed to the “Green Revolution” – a term coined in 1968 to describe the tremendous advancement in crop yields from new breakthroughs in agricultural technology. These sorts of optimizations have been utilized worldwide to feed populations, reduce poverty, and improve farmer’s incomes.

One of the major advances of the Green Revolution was the use of synthetic fertilizers, largely used to increase soil fertility and induce sustained crop growth. Other technological advances that have been integrated into the agricultural industry include:

• Pest control, including the use of pesticides, insect repellents, and pest-deterrent netting
• Automated farming, such as combine harvesters and tractors equipped with GPS systems
• Soil fertility improvement with sustainable strategies such as targeted manure application
• Irrigation systems to monitor water use and apply water to crops with targeted pinpoint accuracy
• Crop rotation practices, to add diversity and yield to crop production
• Livestock tracking, to monitor feed and growth development

These advances and more have vastly improved farming operations, making the production and harvesting of crops much faster and more efficient.

Modern Advances in Agriculture 

Today, the advances in agriculture technology have become even more extensive, with major developments in precision agriculture, biotechnology, and mechanization. Data-driven technologies have revolutionized this industry, allowing farmers to increase their yields with more accurate monitoring and targeted applications of various methods.

Precision Agriculture

 Precision agriculture, sometimes referred to “smart farming” is a system of principles and practices that enables farmers to make decisions based on real-time data to maximize efficiency and agricultural output. This technology can be divided into multiple aspects, such as:

• GPS interface equipment to optimize movement efficiency and accuracy
• Variable rate technology (VRT) for input management, such as seed or fertilizer applications
• Yield mapping systems to measure and track crop growth
• Soil analysis and mapping systems to monitor nutrient potential, structure, and overall fertility

These precision-based strategies give farmers the ability to create comprehensive management plans with specific goals, using personalized techniques to increase production.

Biotechnology and Genetics 

Another rapidly growing research area within modern agricultural practices is the use of biotechnology and genetic engineering to develop crops that are more resistant to disease, drought, and other harsh environmental conditions. As climate change continues to be a pressing global threat, we must strive to develop crops that can cope with and potentially benefit from the shifting weather. For example, Genetically Engineered (GE) crops (also known as genetically modified organisms (GMOs)) are modified at the molecular level with specific stress-resistant genes and have the potential to withstand extreme temperatures and climates.

Robotics and Automation 

Farm automation is another way that agriculture is adapting to modern technology. Automated machines have already been in use for decades, with combine harvesters, milking robots, and automated spraying machines making it easier and more efficient to tend to and care for crops, animals, and soil. The potential for automation in agricultural industries is far from exhausted; new technologies are emerging like autonomous farming robots, drones, and robotic pickers that can virtually eliminate manual labor.

Future of Agriculture 

As needs and requirements for the agricultural industry continue to evolve, it is important to look to the future of how this sector can adapt to the needs of changing markets, climate, and societies. Some predictions for the future of agriculture include an increased emphasis on artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, the further advances of biotechnologies, and the growth of vertical farming.

AI and Robotics 

As the use of automation continues to grow in the agricultural industry, so too will the use of AI, which has become integral to precision agriculture and farm automation. Artificial intelligence systems are being used to continuously collect, analyze, and respond to farmer data, allowing them to make more timely decisions on applications and irrigation, and predict future actions according to the data.

Robotics is also seeing rapid growth, with robots being designed and developed to take on tedious and often dangerous agricultural tasks such as plant trimming, harvesting, and weeding. Autonomously operated agricultural robots have the potential to tackle large tasks and simultaneously monitor environmental conditions, soils, and crop growth — enabling a higher level of precision and reliability than manual labor can offer.


Biotechnology is currently being explored in the agricultural industry to help combat climate change and increase agricultural sustainability. This approach is focused on genetically modifying or engineering crops to become more resistant to extreme temperatures, extreme weather, pests, and disease. One major example of this type of technology is the development of “climate-smart” crops, which can withstand extreme temperatures and reduce the amount of water used for irrigation.

Another advancement that biotechnology research is providing carries the potential to introduce ‘fortified crops’. This type of research is focused on genetically engineering traditional crops to have higher nutritional values, essentially creating an entire new class of “superfood”.

Vertical Farming 

Vertical farming is a recent concept (introduced in the early 2000’s) that suggests an alternate form of agriculture, allowing farmers to grow crops in specialized vertical farms, usually indoors utilizing hydroponic and aeroponic growing methods. This type of farming has the potential to use fewer resources, create more predictability and consistency in production, and reduce the exposure to disease and pests. In this type of setting, farmers can automate virtually every aspect of the farming operations, from seeding and planting, to harvesting and packaging.

As the needs of today’s global population continue to change and shift, the agricultural industry must adapt and develop the answers to meet these demands. We have seen tremendous advancements in technology over the years, and the future of sustainable, efficient, and profitable farming will continue to rely on science and technology. The topics and methods discussed in this article stand as examples of the current pathways that are leading the way for the future of agriculture, providing efficient, sustainable solutions to the global population.