Evaluation of the impact of technological progress on cropland values



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Texas Tech University


In the 20th century, U.S. agriculture became increasingly dependent upon science for technological advances to increase productivity and ensure a safe and competitive food supply. Until the close of the land frontier in the early part of the 1900s, most agricultural production increases came from expanding the area devoted to crops. Today, growth in U.S. agricultural production comes almost entirely fi'om increases in crop yields. The basis of this growth has been the application of modern science and technology to agricultural production.

Technological innovation in production agriculture has caused far-reaching changes in the techniques farmers use to produce agricultural commodities in the U.S. The transition fi-om horsepower to mechanical power, the widespread use of chemicals, and the development of new and improved seed varieties have resulted in substantial and continuing increases in agricultural productivity. Innovations in agricultural production such as these have significantly increased the quantities of many agricultural commodities produced in the U.S. and around the world. These increased quantities have generally led to significant shifts in total supplies of many commodities. Because of the impact on prices and availability of consumer products derived from agricultural commodities, shifting supplies have had meaningful social and economic impacts. Common in most American industries, widespread expectations for technological progress are to continue to play a fundamental role in the production of agricultural commodities.