This is not your father’s farming community.
As improvements in technology have trickled down into all areas of the work force, farming too has taken on a new look as students head to college. Often times these students are getting degrees in Engineering, and specifically in Agricultural Engineering.
If you’ve ever spent time on the farm, you realize quickly that farm machinery breaks down on a regular basis. With engineering skills in their overalls, farmers can now design machinery that may be pertinent to the land they own. If farmers own land that is rocky or filled with undulating terrain, they can use their Engineering skills to design new machinery or reinforce old machinery to better undertake the specifics of their land.
As these new Engineer’s head into the workforce, they are equipped with skills in crop production, irrigation and the conservation of soil and water. Agricultural Engineers have changed the way farming is done in some of the more arid parts of the world. In South Dakota, winter-wheat used to be the staple crop, especially in the dryer western part of the state. With improvements in technology, the younger generation of farmers, often equipped with engineering degrees, are no-till farming their land. Essentially that means that farmers are leaving the stalks of their previous crop, and planting their new crops into the base of the previous crop.
With limited moisture in areas like South Dakota, the thought behind no-till farming is the old stalks will better catch the wintertime snow, and prevent the loss of soil to blowing and drifting during the winter months.
Agricultural Engineers are now coming out of college with knowledge of seeding and planting information. By using their education, younger farmers are capturing the most from their crops and inevitably maximizing their earning potential.