Our Rural Urban Speaker, CSU Ag Sciences Professor Dr. James Pritchett started off with the vision for the College of Agricultural Sciences:  Unquestioned global preeminence in Agri-Tech and Agri-Biome focusing on safety, security and sustainability of food and resource systems to enhance the well being of humans, plants and animals.  He then compared various agricultural metrics between the 1890s and 2016 for Colorado.  Examples were:  farm size was 134 acres in the 1890s and averages 938 acres today; there were 250,000 bushels of corn produced in Colorado in the 1890s and 160 million bushels produced today.  He pointed out that Colorado is a “corn deficit” state as we use more than we produce.
Dr. Pritchett showed us pictures of how the sizes of farm animals has changed (they are bigger) over the centuries.  He says this is partly due to genetics and improved feeding habits.  He pointed out that yields per acre have increased due to hybridization, especially for corn but that wheat yields about the same as historically, as their has been no hybridization for wheat.
How we harvest has changed from many laborers being involved in the various production and harvest activities to the use of a combine today.  This piece of farm equipment is named this because it ‘combined’ various previous aspects of harvesting farm crops.  He explained how technology has improved pruning practices to produce sweeter peaches, for instance.  We are also better at irrigating our crops……just the right amount at just the right time.

The 6 drivers of most of these changes were noted:  population growth, evolving preferences of consumers, more demanding food industry, pivotal technology, Ag policy and a changing climate which is causing us to plant 2 weeks earlier than we have historically.