altIt’s the dawn of not only a new year, but a new decade. What will 2020 hold for us? Hopefully more ups than downs.

This year marks a milestone for me – my 50th birthday. As a child, I predicted my life to be much different by the time I hit 50 than what it is now. Young Julie planned on being a millionaire at the age of 50. That hasn’t worked out for adult Julie, but I still have a few months to buy that winning lottery ticket.

Some of the predictions for 2020 over the years are hilarious.

In 1966, Time magazine predicted, “machines will be producing so much that everyone in the U.S. will, in effect, be independently wealthy.” The average non-working family could expect to earn an average salary of between $30,000 and $40,000. In today’s economy, that would be about $300,000. In 1957, Popular Mechanics predicted every road in America would be replaced with a network of “pneumatic tubes” and cars would only need enough power to drive to the nearest tube. In 1951, the same publication predicted we would all have at least one helicopter in the garage.

Transportation would not be the only change we would see in 2020, according to some scholars. In a lecture at the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1911, surgeon Richard Clement Lucas predicted outer toes would be used less and less, and “man might become a one-toed race.”

Futurist and computer scientist Ray Kurzweil wrote in his 2005 book The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology that by the 2020s, there will be “nanobots” capable of entering the bloodstream to “feed” cells and extract waste, making food consumption obsolete. Thank goodness that prediction has not come true. Nanobot fried chicken just doesn’t sound too appetizing.

We may laugh at some of the predictions for 2020 from long ago, but not all are far-fetched.

In 1913, Gustav Bischoff, former president of the American Meat Packers Association, predicted humans’ diets would consist of mostly vegetables as the years went on because of a shortage of meat. There’s no shortage of meat in the U.S. today, thankfully, but inaccurate information is presented to consumers about animal-based foods being “unhealthy,” prompting some to skip out on meat, dairy and poultry products. Then there’s the animal-rights movement scaring folks away from animal products with allegations of animal cruelty.

Other predictions regarding agriculture are coming to fruition, including advanced technology, the mainstream production of hemp, a growing farm-to-plate movement and increased food safety, just to name a few.

We’re also going to see some not-so promising changes. There will be more stumping for “fake meat,” to draw more consumers away from animal products.

There’s going to be a continued decline of farms in some production areas, especially dairy operations.

The coming years may be difficult for some producers, however, there will always be a need for farmers and ranchers to feed the world.

According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the world population is expected to boom to 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100. This means food production is going to need to increase dramatically in the coming years, meaning there will be a need for more farmers and increased agricultural technology because nothing can replace food or the American farmer or rancher – nothing.


Julie Turner-Crawford is a native of Dallas County, Mo., where she grew up on her family’s farm. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Julie, call 1-866-532-1960 or by email at [email protected].


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