Diesel Technology Forum celebrates National Ag Day

The Diesel Technology Forum issued the following statement in recognition of the 50th anniversary of National Ag Day which is celebrated in communities and classrooms across the country.

One day is not enough to recognize the importance of America’s Farmers to our everyday lives.  America’s farms are the breadbasket that feeds the world and are a substantial contributor to the nation’s economy. According to the World Economic Forum, by 2050 a global population of nearly 10 billion people will demand 56 percent more food than is currently consumed. Innovations in farming and food production, as well as increased systems efficiency, are essential parts of the solution.

According to the Department of Agriculture, more than 286 million acres of principal crops were planted in the U.S. last year. Diesel technology plays a key role in every aspect of agriculture, from the fields to the store shelves. Planting and harvesting this vast acreage require a wide range of efficient machines and equipment. Diesel technology powers more than two-thirds of all farm equipment, transports 90 percent of agricultural products and pumps one-fifth of water dedicated to agriculture in this country. According to the USDA’s most recent data, of the top 10 major input expenditures on the farm, machinery and vehicles rank eighth accounting for 7.6 percent of the dollar value of inputs with fuel ranking tenth at 3.3 percent. The most expensive input was chemicals and fertilizers.

The motivation to make farms greener and more productive has never been greater, which is why more farmers than ever are investing in the newest generation of diesel technology that achieves near-zero emissions. Equipment manufacturers are constantly improving diesel technology and working to reduce emissions. It takes about 25 new row crop tractors to equal the same emissions as just a single tractor that was made in the year 2000.

This year’s National Ag Day theme is “Growing a Climate for Tomorrow.” Diesel technology contributes to the greening of farming operations in several ways including the engines and machines, as well as through the planting and harvesting of crops whose byproducts are turned into low-carbon renewable biodiesel fuels. America’s farmers are also meeting the challenge of climate change by both producing, and using, soy-based renewable biodiesel fuels in their machines and equipment. Last year processing agricultural byproducts enabled the US biodiesel industry to produce about 3.2 billion gallons of renewable biodiesel fuels that have 20-80% lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional petroleum. According to Clean Fuels Alliance America, by 2030 the industry expects to produce 6 billion gallons.

Today’s tractors don’t just pull plows through the fields.

They’re smart machines that are data driven, two-way communicating helping farmers work smarter instead of harder through a suite of technologies known as precision farming technology. Through real-time satellite mapped weather and field conditions, precision agriculture utilizes integrated sensors mounted on the machines and implements to monitor soil conditions and adjust nutrient and seed applications to current conditions. That saves water, minimizes the use of herbicides and fertilizers, which reduces costs, water resources, and impacts on the environment.

An emphasis on data, connectivity, and automation enables the increasing use of smart and precision farming systems as well as biotechnologies. Precision farming technology maximizes the efficient utilization of machines and farming practices to save time, money, fuel, and other inputs. Autonomous features have long been available in advanced tractors and machines, reducing labor requirements in some larger scale farming operations. Expanding the use of precision farming technologies has the potential to boost productivity and reduce inputs for every farmer in America.

Whether they’re farming 10,000 acres of corn in Missouri or raising livestock on a 100-acre dairy farm in Maryland, farmers rely on their equipment to do their work. That’s why they choose durable, efficient machines and equipment with adequate power, performance, and reliability. This unique combination of features is why diesel remains the technology of choice for large and small farms alike.