Can high-tech ag save the economy?

Posted by Christine, May 28, 2011

NPR thinks so, in this report by Adam Davidson on Bayer CropScience’s innovation in cotton.

Among other jobs, Bayer offers pollinating plants in a greenhouse, a position formerly held by bees.

“Craig Grady goes around all day long, fertilizing cotton plants. His job doesn’t seem particularly high-tech: He takes flowers from one cotton plant and rubs them on the flowers of another.

“‘We pop the flower off, and then fold the petals back,’ he says. He’s pollinating them, like a bee would do.

“This job is fairly routine, but it’s important. One mistake could contaminate the greenhouse and ruin millions of dollars of research. So Bayer hires good people and pays them well. Craig, the human bee, has a college degree and says he loves his job.”

How about growing actual plants for food and fiber? These are dead-end jobs for a dead-end economy. A successful economic venture isn’t one that pays investors — it’s one that provides goods and services that people need.