As far as duties go, the job of a progressive agriculturalist is much the same as the job of any other agriculturalist. What makes a progressive agriculturalist different, however, is ideals. The term dates as far back as 1930 when it was mentioned in a volume of “Nature,” an international weekly science journal. At the time, the term was socially focused. While it focuses more on technology and safety today, its meaning is much the same: a forward-thinking agriculturalist who puts progressive ideals into practice.
In their creed, the Future Farmers of America define the ideals of progressive agriculturalists. These ideals focus on the use of the most modern technology in the production of crops and livestock; progressive agriculturalists recognize and embrace change. With these ideals in mind, the ultimate goal of progressive agriculturalists is to produce food and make sure the food is safe to eat when it reaches the market.
Progressive agriculturalists place a major emphasis on safety. The mission statement of the Progressive Agriculture Foundation says that “No child would become ill, be injured or die from farm, ranch and rural activities.” This focus on safety extends from safe field work to safe products on the grocery store shelf. Progressive agriculturalists encourage safety through the use of up-to-date technology, but they also emphasize ongoing education.
Progressive agriculturalists put their ideals into practice as they maintain farms, harvest crops and care for livestock. Like other agriculturalists, much of the work is hands-on, including irrigating land, operating farm machinery, applying fertilizer and pest-control products and feeding and tending to animals. In addition to day-to-day work, progressive agriculturalists may attend or contribute to safety education programs or demonstrations to stay up-to-date on the latest developments for safe farming.
Agricultural and Food Scientists
While some agriculturalists work in the field, others do most of their work in the lab. Agricultural and food scientists research animal nutrition and crops and study soil in an effort to improve the quality and quantity of agricultural output. For a progressive agriculturalist, the focus of the research lies in the production of foods that are safe to produce and eat. This type of agriculturalist is also responsible for communicating findings to the scientific community, the food industry and consumers.