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March 19, 2018   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Policy Insider

Advanced Technology to Feed the World

As we celebrate National Ag Day, we tip our hats to the latest innovations developed by the leading American equipment manufacturers.

U.S. farms contributed $171 billion to the economy in the third quarter of 2017 – the last full quarter for which there is data reported by the U.S. Department of Commerce. It takes a lot of equipment to generate this economic activity and America’s farmers are buying more of the cleanest and most advanced equipment to get the job done. Under the hood of all this new equipment is one of the most advanced clean diesel engines developed that also comes with advanced clean technologies to reduce emissions to near-zero levels while helping farmers boost productivity needed to feed the world.

March 20th is National Ag Day in the U.S. American farmers, ranchers, fisherman and other agricultural producers generated $171 billion in economic activity in the third quarter of 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. All of this economic activity helps put food on the table here in the U.S. and abroad. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that almost half of U.S. soybean production is destined for markets abroad while U.S. cattlemen exported over 3 billion pounds of beef in 2017 to meet growing overseas demand.

To get the job done, requires a large fleet of specialty tractors. From tilling the field, planting seed, fertilizing and harvesting crops, bailing hay, sorting produce and many other activities, takes large pieces of equipment the overwhelming majority of which are powered by diesel technology. No other fuel can match diesel’s energy density while the diesel engine is the most efficient technology to transfer this energy into work.

Since 2014, the latest clean diesel technologies have been developed and integrated into farm and agricultural equipment. Depending on horsepower, the latest generation clean diesel technologies developed to meet the most recent “Tier 4” EPA emissions standards, result in a reduction of emissions of fine particles and oxides of nitrogen of over 90 percent. These clean diesel technologies help deliver emission reduction benefits for many agricultural communities.

The latest technologies found on this equipment is not limited to emission reduction. From drones and autonomous capabilities to advanced hybrid and energy storage technologies are now integrated into many pieces of equipment. For example, equipment giant John Deere beat Google to develop, integrate and deploy autonomous technology in a row crop tractor. No to be outdone, international equipment manufacturer CASE has also developed an autonomous tractor that integrates data retrieved from drones to make more efficient use of the equipment. Other manufacturers have also integrated advanced GPS and mapping features to determine the most precise and accurate way to harvest, plant or till a field. In the end, this technology is designed to reduce operating time and save fuel for the farmer while making our agricultural sector one of the most productive in the world.

As we celebrate National Ag Day we tip our hats to the latest innovations developed by the leading equipment manufacturers. Advanced technologies will help farmers make the most of their equipment while reducing emissions, boosting productivity and feeding the world.


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Ezra Finkin
Director, Policy

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