April 5, 2012 at 9:49 pm
I gotta share with you all something quite horrifyingly insane. The “farm of the future” courtesy of the USDA, painted for the Nat’l Geographic in 1970.
The caption reads: Grainfields stretch like fairways and cattle pens resemble high rise apartments… Attached to a modernistic farmhouse, a bubble-topped control tower hums with a computer; weather reports and a farm-price ticker tape. A remote-controlled tiller-combine glides across the 10-mile-long wheat field on tracks that keep the heavy machine from compacting the soil. Threshed grain, funneled into a pneumatic tube beside the field, flows into storage elevators rising close to the distant city. The same machine that cuts the grain prepares the land for another crop. A similar device waters neighboring strips of soybeans as a jet-powered helicopter sprays insecticides.
Across a service road, conical mills blend feed for beef cattle, fattening in multilevel pens that conserve ground space. Tubes carry the feed to be mechanically distributed. A central elevator transports the cattle up and down, while a tubular side drain flushes wastes to be broken down for fertilizer. Beside the farther pen, a processing plant packs beef into cylinders for shipment to market by helicopter and monorail. Illuminated plastic domes provide controlled environments for growing high-value crops such as strawberries, tomatoes, and celery. Near a distant lake and recreation area, a pumping station supplies water for the vast operation.
[Click on graphic to see it rendered in crisp detail.]