The high tech of rural America

Roberto Baldwin, writing for Wired:

Hey, city slicker: Erase all preconceived notions about the technological competence of rural America. As you drive past all those rolling, pastoral fields during your summer road trips, you might be lulled into thinking our farmers and ranchers are stuck in the 1950s — or maybe even homogeneously Amish. But think again: The people who work the land are using technologies that rival what’s coming out of the world’s most advanced R&D labs.

Having had grown up in a small town surrounded by farms, I’m not the least bit surprised. Farming is incredibly sophisticated these days. But what does surprise me (a little bit) is the large part of our population that has no clue what happens on a farm. I’m guessing the “say whaaaa…?” reaction to farm technology has been around for a while, but as more people become lifelong urbanites, it’s likely to become more common. 

So I’ve thought of a way city slickers can keep their finger on the pulse of farm technology in a very broad sense: If your food is, and continues to be, cheap, then there’s some damn impressive technology went into producing it. 

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