St. Louis, Missouri (NAPSI) - Understanding and employing new-age technology is proving crucial for agriculture to continue to advance and meet the growing global demands so future generations can enjoy food security.

Modern science can identify key traits of a plant to breed improved varieties with the highest possible yield and generate new and cost-effective production methods. In other instances, genetic modification can be used to achieve traits such as disease resistance or herbicide tolerance.

Today’s agriculture has a difficult task at hand: to feed an evergrowing population. Luckily, agriculture is armed with cutting-edge technology, helping farmers and industry professionals meet the rising demand for food. Farmers now walk through fields planted with drought-resistant corn, holding smartphones equipped with weed identification apps, using all forms of technology to grow more from less.

Within the past decade, the number of farms with Internet connection has increased by 20 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Farmers are using the Internet to get up-to-date information on commodity pricing, connect with other professionals via social media networks and broaden their agriculture knowledge.

Farmers now take the Internet directly out to the field. Smartphone use among ag retailers was up 25 percent in 2010, allowing farmers to stand amongst their crop and look up images of pests or diseased plants, access the most recent commodity pricing to better negotiate, or receive storm updates before the clouds roll in. GPS systems allow farmers to deliver tailored inputs for crops on a field-by- field or even row-by-row need.

Weather continues to be a factor in crop yield and farm productivity. Last year in Texasalone, drought led to a record $5.2 billion agricultural loss. Syngenta and other seed companies have developed drought-tolerant corn seed to prevent such loss. Using new technologies like drought-tolerant seed is an important frontier for producers as they strive to improve yields and keep up with global demand. The global population is set to reach 9 billion by 2050, meaning farmers need to achieve at least a 70 percent increase in food production. Losing yield due to weather or other challenges is no longer an option.

Bringing plant potential to life is how the firm focuses on helping to feed the world. The company invests more than $1 billion a year in research and development projects.

Syngenta scientists have also contributed to Golden Rice; rice that has been genetically engineered to contain beta-carotene and other carotenoids. When consumed, the carotenoids are converted into provitamin A. Once approved for general distribution, Golden Rice is expected to contribute significantly to an effective, inexpensive and simple solution to vitamin A deficiency, a major global health problem caused by impoverished diets.

The company’s scientists are helping to meet growers’ needs by developing new ways to increase crop yields, help crops resist diseases and insects, increase quality and meet consumer demands.

Helping farmers grow more from less while preserving land and water is vital for future food security.