If you ask your grandparents how they got their food, they might have a different answer than you think. Why is this? It’s because agriculture has changed throughout history.
There are over seven billion people in the world and that number is expected to grow to nine billion by the year 2050 (Simmons, 2011). That’s a lot of people to feed! How will we be able to provide safe, nutritious food to all these people? The answer: through changes and advances in the agricultural system.
Farmers use technology to make advances in producing more food for a growing world. Through the use of technology, each farmer is able to feed 155 people today, compared to 1940, when one farmer could feed only 19 people (Prax, 2010). Farmers use technologies such as motorized equipment, modified housing for animals and biotechnology, which allow for improvement in agriculture. Better technology has allowed farmers to feed more people and requires fewer people to work on farms to feed their families.
The way in which farm animals are raised and where they live has changed as well. Through research with animals, scientists have discovered what types of housing are best for animals to live in and produce food. Dairy cows now live in barns that have soft mattresses, sand beds or water beds for them to sleep on, nutritionists to feed them special diets, and fans and sprinklers to keep them cool when it is hot outside. In the past, farmers did not know what made a cow comfortable, but now that farmers have more information, they can better take care of their animals. This allows cows to make more milk.