WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- A decade from now, farmers will rely on the marriage of agronomic, information and process control technologies to grow thousands of acres of crops in ways that create smaller carbon footprints, predicts a Purdue University agricultural economist.
Crop farming could become both simpler and more complex by 2020, said Mike Boehlje.
"There will be challenges and opportunities for agriculture 10 years down the road," Boehlje said. "Those will involve the continued change in the size of the agricultural industry at the farm sector level, the sustainability issue, challenges associated with productivity and resource utilization and the increasing demands our urban society is making on farming."
Boehlje will discuss what he believes the future holds during the Indiana Certified Crop Adviser Conference.
The crop takes place Dec. 14-15, at the Indianapolis Marriott East.
His presentation, "Row Crop Agriculture in 2020," is slated for 8 a.m., and 11 a.m., Dec. 14.
The Indiana Certified Crop Adviser Conference is geared toward those who provide consultant services for farmers and others in agriculture.
The event features speakers from Purdue and 12 other universities, the agricultural industry and government agencies. Sessions include presentations on nutrient, soil and water, pest and crop management issues.
The Indianapolis Marriott East is located at 7207 E. 21st St.
Large farms with vast acreages of corn, soybeans and wheat could become the norm in the years ahead, Boehlje said. Consolidation within the agriculture industry has been going on since at least 1980, he added.
"If you look at farms with 1,000 acres or more, that comprises about 6 percent of the farmers. They already operate about 40 percent of the farmland and they're growing their acreage about 6-7 percent per year," Boehlje said. "If you project out 10 years, what you'll find is that 5-6 percent of the farmers will probably be operating about 50 percent of the acreage."
The small percentage of farmers working a majority of the crop acres will need strong management skills, while competition will be keen among the agribusinesses that supply those farmers everything from fertilizer to machinery, he said.
Sustainability won't just be an agricultural buzzword in 2020 -- it will be a way of life. That means adopting crop production practices that are economically and environmentally viable, he said.
For more information, visit the conference website at www.indianacca.or