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American Leaders of Michigan puts emphasis on educating policymakers about importance of ag technology

April 7, 2016

2 Min Read

The Agriculture Leaders of Michigan, including the Michigan Soybean Association and Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee, recently hosted an educational lunch event at the Michigan Capitol to emphasize the important role technology plays every day in Michigan agriculture.

Presenters at the meeting included Jeff Sandborn, a corn farmer near Portland and board member of the Michigan Corn Growers Association and Mark Seamon, research coordinator at the Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee (the soybean checkoff).

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The presenters discussed advances in agricultural technology – including new seed development, modern farm equipment, precision agriculture, aerial imaging and genetic modification – all of which have helped producers of many different commodity crops boost yields and production.

Working closely with the Michigan Soybean Association and Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee, ALM has focused this year on educating policymakers about the importance of agricultural technology. In recent weeks, these efforts included articles on agricultural technology in MLive and an op-ed in the Detroit News emphasizing the benefits of genetic modification in agriculture.

Seamon discussed a wide variety of ongoing research to improve soybean production methods, many of which are applicable across key Michigan crops. Sandborn added his perspective as a corn farmer, giving legislative staff real-life examples showcasing the use of modern technology on his farm.

“We’re learning more every day about new methods in soybean production, creating more resilient crops and developing the technology needed to help farmers grow more,” said Seamon. “Modern farming is incredibly advanced – and we see the results of technology as yields increase almost every year.”

Sandborn said corn production has skyrocketed from 7.6 billion bushels in 1984 to more than 15 billion bushels last year – a boost in production that tracked closely with yield increases.

Soybean yields have also experienced continual improvement, more than doubling in the past 50 years to over 45 bushels per acre in recent years, according to Seamon.

“In past generations, achieving 50 bushels per acre in corn yield was considered successful, but that has changed alongside new technology in the industry,” said Sandborn. “Today, we consider 150 bushels per acre an ideal yield, and many growers achieve far higher yields. This is due in large part to the modern technology in use across all aspects of agriculture.”

This event was part of a series of monthly forums sponsored by ALM aimed at educating legislative staff on issues important to Michigan’s agricultural industry.

ALM is a coalition of agricultural, commodity and agribusiness leaders committed to promoting Michigan agriculture, participating in the ongoing dialogue about issues affecting our state, and harnessing agriculture’s power and potential to further grow Michigan’s economy.

You can learn more about ALM by visiting www.agleadersmi.com.

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