Agricultural practices have progressed over time to become more efficient and adapt to emerging challenges facing our world today. With this evolution of agriculture came new technologies that changed the way farmers work. Today, we are experiencing a fourth agricultural revolution, Agriculture 4.0, in which farmers use smart technologies to better manage resources, increase yields, and in some cases, better protect the environment. Where can the farmers of today learn about these innovations? At an AgTech conference like Rally.
Before you dive into learning about the latest and greatest tools on the market, though, you should first understand the impact of technology on agriculture over time. It will show you where the agriculture industry came from and sparks ideas for where it can go next. Keep reading to learn more about some of the history of agriculture (the door to the past) as well as a bit more about Rally (the door to the future).
What Are Some Major Developments in the History of Agriculture?
The beginning of agriculture stretches as far back as about 11,500 years ago. At that time, people began farming for themselves. By about 2,000 years ago, most of the world’s population made the transition from a nomadic lifestyle to a settled one reliant on farming. This shift marked the first Agricultural Revolution. After that, there were several major developments that moved the agricultural industry to where it stands today. Some of those developments are:
- 5500 BCE: Mesopotamians develop irrigation systems that support farming in areas previously considered poor land.
- 6000 BCE: Farmers in South Asia and Egypt develop better plant varieties.
- 1000 CE: Farmers in the Middle East and northern Africa start practicing crop rotation.
- 1400s-1500s: New crop types are brought to Europe from other continents, increasing the different types of food people eat.
- 1700s: The practice of selective breeding spreads throughout Europe.
- 1700s-1800s: New inventions in agriculture are developed and increase food production.
- 1800s: Crop rotation practices evolve.
- 1866: Gregor Mendel publishes his study on heredity and sets the stage for genetic farming.
- 1950s: Many people across the world begin to rely heavily on electronic machinery for their farming practices, producing more food in the process.
- 1970s: Scientists figure out how to alter genes and plants and animals to produce desired traits.
- 2018: The term Agriculture 4.0 is coined.
During the time listed above, there were two more agricultural revolutions: one from 1500 to 1850 and one from 1950 to the end of the 1960s.
What Are 8 Important Inventions That Improved Agriculture?
There have been several notable inventions in agriculture that have altered the way farmers do their work. A few of them are:
- Cotton Gin: This tool made it easier and more efficient to separate seeds from cotton.
- Reaper: This tool allowed farmers to harvest small grains quicker and easier than doing it by hand.
- Thresher: This tool separates kernels from straw.
- Steam Engine: This machine allowed farmers to plow and harvest quicker and easier than they could with beasts of burden.
- Combine Harvester: This machine combines reaping, threshing, gathering, and winnowing into a single process.
- Tractor: This machine pulls other agriculture equipment or trailers, eliminating the reliance on beasts of burden and eventually the steam engine. Tractors were once powered by steam and are now powered by gas.
- Scout Drones: These small devices fly over fields and monitor for pests or areas of a field that require extra attention.
- Sensors: These devices can sense moisture levels, nutrition, temperature, etc. and alert you when something needs your attention.
This is just a short list of the many technologies that transformed agriculture as we know it. To learn about the latest agricultural invention ideas and to come up with your own, you need to attend a cross-sector collaboration conference like Rally.
What Is Rally?
Rally is a cross-sector collaboration conference that brings together six different innovation studios:
- Ag & Food
Why attend a conference that has professionals from several industries in one place? Because it drives innovation. When you hear from and network with experts from other industries, it gets you outside of your agricultural bubble and sparks new ideas that you can implement in your own company. For example, every one of these industries now use artificial intelligence (AI), and other technologies just like it are waiting to be explored.
At Rally we will invite 30 companies on stage to pitch their idea during our Rally IN-Prize competition. We will choose five winners, who will each get $1 million in investment towards turning their idea into a reality. To learn more about everything going on, check out the agenda.