Beverley Flatt

Farms Require a New Approach

 

In June more than 8,000 young adults from across the European Union journeyed to Strasbourg, France for the third European Youth Event (EYE), sponsored by the European Parliament. Beverley Flatt, an alumnus of the Youth Ag Summit and current member of the communications team for Animal Health at Bayer, took part in the event to discuss the future of farming.

Beverley Flatt

Beverley Flatt

Content creation managerin at Bayer Animal Health, Germany

I grew up in a small town in the center of the United States. Republic, Missouri is where I first fell in love with agriculture. But, at 13-years of age, I could have never imagined where I would be nearly 15 years later- standing in front of the European Parliament Building in Strasbourg, France surrounded by more than 8,000 passionate young adults.

The European Youth Event, or EYE, is a jammed packed two-day event sponsored by the European Parliament, where young people can debate, learn, ideate, and network on topics ranging from fair trade to the digital revolution.

I didn’t grow up wanting to be a farmer. I didn’t even know any farmers. But after signing up for an agricultural science class in high school, I knew things were about to change. I wanted to be a scientist and then a welder, and then an agricultural education teacher. I eventually studied communications and plant and animal science in college and, four years later, my husband and I bought a farm.

The Farm of the Future Requires a Technological Approach

So when it came time to prepare for the debate, I knew that the farm of the future would require a technological approach. As a farmer in the United States, I know we have been tremendously fortunate and have benefitted greatly from the technologies that have been accepted. The health and well-being of our cattle improves every day with better access to record keeping software and diagnostic tools. In a neighboring field, the soybeans have a stronger resistance to weeds which acts as a barrier for our own hay ground and pastures. This year, we are finally set up to practice artificial insemination on our cows which can lead to easier labor and delivery and strengthened immunity among calves.

Sitting in the European Parliament: Beverley Flatt preparing to discuss the farms of the future.

But many of the technological advancements that benefit our farm, our customers and our environment are either restricted or banned in other parts of the world. I think there is an opportunity for some of these limitations to be re-evaluated in order to provide safe, healthy, and affordable food that is grown in a sustainable way.

There is a statistic that I first memorized about 10 years ago. “We need to feed 10 billion people by 2050.”

At the time, those numbers didn’t feel so ominous because 2050 was so far away. But in reality, that means there are only 32 growing seasons between then and now. 32 more chances to plant. 32 more breeding cycles. 32 more opportunities to gather the harvest we need. Fortunately, I believe technology can help us accomplish all of this in ways that benefit farmers, consumers, and our planet.