"If a farmer sees something work, or his neighbor, or he has an acquaintance who's had a positive experience with something, they they're likely to adopt it very rapidly. So they're looking for a confirmation or validation, if you will, of the performance claim for some product. And that can be among their peers, and quite often is. Now currently, of course, people access information from all over the world via the Net. And it doesn't take quite as much show-and-tell to convince somebody to try something because farmers now are entrepreneurs. And they don't hold back and timidly seek information. They aggressively seek it. They're still looking for validation. But they don't have to see it three years on the neighbor's farm before they'll try it. So there's less of a time lag between a new technology first being introduced and widespread adoption now than there was 30, 40 years ago…
     "Everybody's hooked together. I guess the word is networked. And you network in a variety of ways. So, when something surfaces that's got real potential people who are astute – and you need to be astute to survive and prosper anyway today – they're aware of that. I mean, that's more important to them than some of the old skills that we used to think were crucial for farming like precise driving of a tractor. Of course, you have to be able to drive a tractor, but that's usually not the rate limiting process in success in agriculture…
     "There are a lot of information sources out there to help growers sort through these things. They come from private industry. They come from the public sector from the university. I mean, I have an appointment with the extension, cooperative extension [department]. And one of the things we do is help growers make weed management decisions. And involved in that is to help evaluate the strategies of those herbicides that are most applicable in Nebraska conditions. So, there's a number of sources a grower can go to to try to help sort out those things. But it's more complex than it used to be, and it requires a better understanding by growers to make the most cost effective choice now than 40 years ago when maybe there was only one choice. And prior to that there was no choice. So, actually, the playing field has tipped in the favor of the person who can manage the technology…
     "The synergy is what's really important. Synthetic pesticides wouldn't have made near as much contribution if it hadn't been for the other things. A lot of things develop together. The machinery developed and allowed us to capitalize on the technology that was developed. So, we wouldn't have been able to precisely plant, fertilize, apply pesticides without the machinery. We needed the pesticides, obviously, to be developed. We needed the genetic improvement in the crop to capitalize on the fact that we no longer have rootworms eating up the crop and the weeds. So a lot of things come together. And I think people should really view this as a, kind of like the three-legged stool. Without one of them the rest of them, the whole stool is really seriously compromised."

Alex Martin – Synergy of Technologies


Other Excerpts from Alex Martin’s Interview:

Cold War Air Raid Drills
The Interstate & Rural Am.
The Green Revolution
The DNA Revolution
The Weed Challenge
Silent Spring
How 2,4-D Works
How Atrazine Works
Futures Markets