Advances in agriculture are everywhere. It seems that with every passing year, farmers gain access to a host of new innovations designed to help them improve their yields, farm more efficiently, save freshwater, and more. Though unfortunately, climate change has been the driving force behind these technologies; as drought and other events have significant impacts on farms, companies must move quickly to create technologies that will save crops.
Climate Change and the Effect on Crops
Climate change is happening whether people believe it is man-made change or a part of the globe’s natural progression. Though that debate rages on, farmers around the world are scrambling to fight its effects. Things like water shortages, drought, plant diseases, and even pesticide-resistant insects continue to wreak havoc on crops everywhere, and this is a serious problem with the population of the planet expected to exceed 10 billion by 2050. By then, food demand will have increased by 50% even though farmers are struggling to produce even slightly higher yields.
One of the biggest changes and best technologies introduced to the farming industry as the direct result of climate change is CRISPR crops. CRISPR is a segment of DNA that contains short and repetitive base sequences that defend organisms from viruses. It stands for “clusters of regularly spaced short palindromic repeats,” and it is the center upon which many new technologies have been born.
CRISPR crops have been genetically edited to withstand many common issues farmers experience, whether they encompass drought, pests, or wilt. In some cases, CRISPR crops even have naturally higher yields or more nutrients – and in a few cases, they just taste better.
The Role of the USDA
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has played a huge role in spurring innovation in agriculture. The USDA’s 2018 statement urged farmers to use CRISPR as much as possible and promised that over-regulation of CRISPR crops would never become an issue. As a result, it can be said that the USDA has essentially given genetically modified crops the green light in the US.
Aside from CRISPR, companies like Tria Global Services are also doing their part to fight the effects of climate change. A product called AquiMax, a copolymer soil amendment designed for use with injectable systems, is the first and only product of its kind to date. The polymer enters the soil through its emulsification with a penetrating surfactant, then forms a moisture barrier around the crop that seals in the existing moisture and makes it available to plants on demand. Such a product has had a huge influence on crop yields, especially in places like California where freshwater is a hot commodity – and one that seems to be scarcer and scarcer every year.
Climate change is a reality, and farmers across the globe – from California to China – are experiencing its effects. Fortunately, thanks to genetically-altered CRISPR crops that can withstand whatever the climate chooses to throw at them, and thanks to new soil amendments that can save billions upon billions of gallons of water when used collectively, climate change’s effect may start to lessen – especially if global farmers start using other sustainable practices, too.