USDA-ERS Study: Tech advancement in agriculture increased outputs and reduced inputs over time

According to a new USDA-ERS report, technological advancements in agriculture led to significant output increases while reducing input usage for producers.

As farmers face mounting input costs amid soaring interest rates, new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (USDA-ERS) highlights the crucial role of technology in agricultural growth without requiring additional inputs.

According to the landmark USDA-ERS report, “Precision Agriculture in the Digital Era: Recent Adoption on U.S. Farms,” agricultural output has nearly tripled over the last 70 years (from 1948 to 2021). This substantial increase can be attributed to advancements in genetics, chemicals, machinery, and organizational practices within the agricultural sector.

Conversely, in this same period, farming input usage slightly declined.

The growth in agricultural output has been closely tied to increases in total factor productivity (TFP). TFP measures the amount of agricultural output produced by all inputs combined. This indicates that technological innovations have enabled farmers to produce more with fewer resources, thus driving efficiency and reducing input costs.

These findings underscore the importance of adopting and investing in technological solutions within the agricultural industry. By embracing innovations that enhance productivity and efficiency, farmers can navigate the challenges posed by rising input costs and interest rates while sustaining and expanding their operations.

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