Why "1994" is Significant to Agriculture
Jason Aldean’s hit single, “1994,” is prompting country fans like me to reminisce about the year when musicians like Billy Ray Cyrus made a fashion statement with a mullet, Justin Bieber was born, the OJ Simpson trial was headline news and a gallon of gas cost $1.09. Also during that time, Joe Diffie was a platinum recording artist.
Diffie’s music greatly influenced Aldean, who was a high school senior in 1994. That’s why lyrics to “1994” reference at least eight of Diffie’s hits including: “Pickup Man,” “Honky Tonk Attitude,” “So Help Me Girl,” “Third Rock from the Sun,” “C-O-U-N-T-R-Y” and more.
Country music stars like Luke Bryan, Keith Urban and Dierks Bently have joined in the fun by posting photos of themselves, circa 1994. Although these musicians are in a class of their own, I thought it would be fun to share a few photos from the Latham family album today on TheFieldPosition.com.
I also wanted to highlight a few historical events that greatly shaped the agricultural community including the seed industry:
- Amendments to the Plant Variety Protection Act strengthened intellectual property rights, which provided more protection for companies to develop new seed varieties.
- Roundup Ready® Soybeans were being widely tested in the United States.
- The American Farm Bureau celebrated its 75th anniversary as a new era began and private property rights were challenged. Production practices were scrutinized, and environmental challenges surfaced.
Fast forward nearly two decades, farming practices are still coming under scrutiny and some people are still debating the merits of biotech seeds. But you can’t dispute the fact that today’s farmers grow more food, using barely half the energy and fewer resources for every bushel of grain, gallon of milk, egg and pound of meat.
The next time you reflect upon “the good ol’ days,” I hope you’ll keep in mind these facts on farming and the environment:
- Due to seed improvements, better conservation practices and proper fertilization methods over the last 20 years, soybean yields have increased by more nearly 30%. Corn yields have increased six times since 1940.
- No-till acreage for corn in 2010 was 30% and as more acres in the United States are planted to corn than any other crop, more corn is in no-till production than any other crop.
- No-till acreage in the U.S. has increased for corn, cotton, rice and soybeans by about 1.5% per year since 2000.