As a fourth-generation CT native vegetable farmer, I’ve watched agriculture's evolution over my lifetime. Advances in technology, regulations, and conservation practices have changed the way we farm and interact with the land. Here’s a look at the differences between agriculture today and how it was done in the past.
The government, and regulatory agencies like the FDA, have become more involved in the agricultural industry in the last 5-10 years. This has resulted in more paperwork and compliance requirements for farmers. I passed the very first USDA audit of a vegetable farm in Connecticut. These regulations address consumer safety, traceability, and accountability throughout the food system. They also provide more funding and resources for farmers and producers, allowing them to purchase new equipment, expand their operations, and increase their yields.
In the past, there were many small and family farms throughout the country and right here in Connecticut. However, the number of farms in the U.S. has decreased significantly in the past 20-30 years. This is due to the increasing cost of land, labor, and equipment, as well as the growth of large-scale industrial farms. While small farms are still present, larger farms are now the majority.
In Wallingford, there were 13 farms on one street I remember growing up, and now there aren't 13 farms in the whole town.
One of the most notable changes in the ag industry is the increase in conservation practices. Farmers are now using more sustainable methods, such as overhead drip irrigation and root irrigation systems that I use on my farm, to help conserve water and soil resources. Additionally, many farmers are using cover crops to help improve the composition of the soil and prevent erosion. I have been recognized by the NRCS twice for my efforts to conserve and act as a responsible steward on my farm.
Advances in technology have allowed farmers to increase their yields significantly in the past 5-10 years. This includes new seed varieties, improved pest control methods, and better irrigation systems. In addition, many farmers are using data and analytics to identify areas of improvement and maximize yield.
The agricultural industry has undergone a significant transformation in the past 5-10 years. Regulations, conservation practices, and advances in technology have changed the way we farm and interact with the land. This has resulted in more efficient farming methods, increased yields, and better resource conservation.
Thank you for supporting locally grown and helping to protect the land for future generations!