Lynn L. Bergeson, “The essential role of evolving technologies in securing a safe and sustainable food supply,” Agricultural Law Section of the International Bar Association, June 1, 2021.
Emerging tools enabled by nanotechnology, synthetic biology, and other innovative technologies are today increasingly supplementing the ploughs and tractors so emblematic of the agricultural community of the past. These precision farming tools are ensuring a sustainable food supply otherwise threatened by climate change and population growth, among other global challenges, while diminishing worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Genetically modified E coli is being used to produce synthetically-derived pheromones, substances beneficially used in agricultural applications to attract, capture, and eliminate harmful pests. Agricultural stakeholders use nanopesticides and nanofertilisers in drought-stricken regions, minimising the need for more conventional and environmentally consequential agricultural chemicals. GPS-based auto-steering systems for tractors augment human labour, freeing up effort better spent on other tasks. These technologies enable global agricultural professionals to address the climate change imperatives which threaten an increasingly fragile global food supply.