The Future of Agriculture

Addison Justus, 10th Grader at BCECHS

You probably have seen news articles circulating online about a new form of factory farming. Architecture student André Ford has designed an interesting, to say the least, structure that farms chickens more efficiently. Many have described the contraption as something that looks like it is straight out of “The Matrix” movies. As someone who is invested in ethical practices and environmental issues, I was amazed by this new idea for farming. My curiosity took me further than I thought it would, and I pondered the question, what does this mean for the future of agriculture?


Scientists and philosophers have proposed blinding or even removing the cerebral cortex of chickens so that the strain put on them by factory farming can be reduced. On a regular basis chicken who are factory farmed are put under extreme stress, which can cause many issues for the chickens and the farmers who slaughter them. Removing the cerebral cortex from a chicken would keep the chickens from experiencing trauma or stress, but this still poses a moral dilemma. News outlet Wired explains the process of the farming process stating, “After this “desensitization,” the chickens could then be stacked into huge urban farms with around 1,000 chickens hooked up to large vertical frames… The feet of the chickens would also be removed in order to pack more in… Food, water and air would be delivered via a network of tubes and excrement would be removed in the same way. This technique could achieve a density of around 11.7 chickens per cubic meter instead of the current 3.2 chickens achieved in broiler houses”. While this method would be more efficient when it comes to the amount of land that is required to support these animals, there remains the question of whether it is moral to handicap the animals. It is important that we think about the future of agriculture regardless of whether it is positive or negative. 


So what is the future of agriculture? Over the past few years, many of the practices associated with the agricultural industry have come under scrutiny. Whether it was ethical or environmentally harmful problems, farmers and other workers in agriculture have moved forward and developed innovative solutions to make farming as sustainable and ethical as possible. In the United States farmers are trying to move towards a more sustainable form of farming. Some of the advances described by news outlet OliverWyman include, “sophisticated technologies such as robots, temperature and moisture sensors, aerial images, and GPS technology. These advanced devices and precision agriculture and robotic systems will allow farms to be more profitable, efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly”. For the most part, farmers are moving towards a better form of farming that will cause less food insecurity, less environmental impact, and less unethical practices. It seems like the United States is moving towards an improved agricultural industry in the future. 


Many of the practices that have been brought up to improve farming have caused some controversy, for example, the “Matrix” style chicken farming. Even with the controversial practices, many good practices like urban farming and technology being integrated into agriculture have been brought up and prototyped. Agriculture is a vital part of every single person’s life, so it is extremely important that our agricultural practices are sustainable. To conclude, the future of agriculture in America is a sustainable and ethical one that will hopefully solve many of the issues we have today.