We’ve all heard the phrase, “Make good choices.” That can be a lot of pressure. And I get it. As a son and brother of farmers, I know they make good choices every day, and those choices impact every growing season, and even more importantly, every bite of food we all eat. And while that can be a lot of pressure, I know we have access to ever-improving tools and technologies, which help make the right choices for our farm. These in turn enable food companies to offer you a lot of choices for great tasting, healthy foods for your family and friends.
You probably don’t think about agriculture every time you eat, but every bite is impacted by farmers like my family, using science, technology and innovation. Whether it’s white corn that goes into chips or tortillas or field corn that becomes animal feed, they’re part of the food chain.
Take for example one of America’s favorite foods - tacos. The basis of every great taco is the tortilla, and with agriculture innovation tools farmers can grow an agronomic high yielding white corn which makes it easier for food companies to make more tortillas from corn grown on fewer acres. That tortilla is then fried in an oil that is both tasty and more nutritious. The oil comes from the seed of plants that were bred together, so people eat more good fats and less bad fats.
Innovation can be found in the taco meat too; it doesn’t even matter if you like beef, pork or chicken. The feed the animals eat comes from seeds developed through science that provides the animal with optimal nutrition to grow healthy. With crop protection tools, the vegetables on your tacos can grow big, healthy and safe without the threat of pests and weeds. Even the cheese sprinkle or sour cream on top is impacted by agricultural innovation. Dairy cows eat a diet high in silage, a feed ingredient made from the corn plant. When farmers ferment the corn plant for animal feed, a bacteria-based product called an inoculate helps ensure the feed is nutritious and easy for the cows to digest, leading to better dairy products for you.
Just like having a smart phone with your calendar, email and text messages makes your life easier, innovation on the farm makes growing food easier for farmers. By using seed science, I can plant seeds that are able to grow strong in areas that receive limited water or use crop protection tools that help me eliminate weeds, bugs and pests. Cattle farmers can use technology and innovation to make sure their pastures are healthy, providing nutritious grasses and forges for their animals to eat.
The next time you’re enjoying “Taco Tuesday”, know there is a farmer that is also pondering the decisions that help improve the food you eat. And know the farmers producing your food also have trusted tools, technologies and allies to help them raise food for you, your friends and your family. And they also like tacos.
About the Author
Roger Theisen is the marketing manager of specialty crops for Corteva Agriscience. Roger grew up on a farm in Iowa, where his family continues to farm. He has worked in the agronomy and agriculture industry for more than 25 years.