Agriculture, fish and food production is a complex business. Advanced technology is common throughout the
agri-food business, right from the farm to the consumer.
Farmers, processors, wholesalers and retailers today use modern equipment and systems, including computers, to work in fields, barns, greenhouses, nurseries, fish operations, fish boats, processing plants and retail food stores. Sophisticated technology is as important to the agri-food business as it is to any other business in society.
Information and its use is vital to the agri-food business. Communications through electronic and computer technology is becoming a normal part of business for farmers. Management decisions are made based on quick access to markets, prices and production information.
Technology advances in production have dramatically improved the turnaround time of certain products from the research table to the consumer. Biotechnology has created much more exact methods for breeding better livestock and crop varieties that are more disease-resistant or better quality, and to improve foods, feeds, fertilizers, disease vaccines and pest control products so they have more desirable traits that they had before. Biotechnology uses biological processes to produce substances that help agri-food production, the environment, industry and medicine. This has been going on for thousands of years.
Some modern examples:
- tomatoes that ripen more quickly on the vine and maintain flavor and texture for several weeks, allowing time for transport, retail display and storage at home
- potato plants genetically bred to resist key diseases and thus provide an environmentally sound alternative to chemical control
- develop plants through genetics which are more nutritious when cooked
- develop animal feeds and vaccines using micro-organisms
- breed animals for resistance to disease and more lean meat
- use bacterial that take nitrogen from the air more effectively for legume
plants and therefore help reduce the amount of nitrogen fertilizers needed
- breed certain crops with lower less desirable components e.g.: Canola
Modern transportation systems allow products to be available within hours from
across the world. Health inspectors ensure that products are free of impurities
or disease before reaching the consumer.
Scientists work with farmers, processors and retailers to develop and
demonstrate new techniques. This is expensive and often time consuming, but
results in better quality products for consumers.