A wheat field in Kern County, Calif. Farming in the United States isn't going away anytime soon, but the same can't be said for its influence over policy.
Time stops for no one, or so the saying goes. And right now, the clock is not on the side of many U.S. farmers, who have suffered hit after hit in recent months and years. U.S. farmers are facing geopolitical trends that will change the face of America's heartland. Longer-term demographic and technological factors point toward a future in which the agricultural sectors will lose political influence not only in the United States but also in Europe and Japan. Eventually, for instance, precision agriculture and increased use of automation will better align urban and rural economic interests. For the moment, however, political necessity in the United States and strong nationalist sentiment on both sides of the Atlantic on topics like rules of origin mean the agricultural sector will continue to have pride of place during trade negotiations -- even as the demographic and technological ground begins to shift beneath its...
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