The Council for Agricultural Sciences and Technology (CAST) has released a new paper, Agriculture and the Microbiome. The publication, Ag quickCAST (one-page summary of the paper), and student study guide are available for download. There is also a recorded webinar that features a Q&A session that can be accessed via link provided.
Agriculture is one of the keystones of human civilization, providing a reliable, stationary source of food that allowed ancient populations to grow and eventually build cities. Modern agriculture is successful today because of advances in mechanization, breeding, nutrients (e.g., fertilization), and pest and disease management, all of which enhance crop productivity and provide greater food security. Yet even with this progress, the amount of cropland per capita has declined, available farmland is being consumed by urban development at unprecedented rates, and crop yields are plateauing. Crop yields must continue to increase and the gap between plant productivity and consumption must be bridged. Expanding the use of crop microbiomes to improve plant production is that next agricultural revolution.