What are the benefits of modern agriculture?

It is best to classify modern agriculture into 2 generations:

  1. Gen 1: Industrialized Agriculture: Powered by mechanization (tractors, harvesters etc. etc) and industrial inputs (fertilizers, pesticides etc. etc.). During this period productivity was the prime driver and we have managed to reach our productivity targets quite successfully. Food security could be the coined as the key benefit achieved during this generation though we still manage to keep 1 billion of us hungry each day. Sustainability of natural agricultural resources (soil, water etc.) was the biggest price we have paid during this productivity drive. While, we have managed to address food security quite well nutrition security is a big debated aspect. So this model worked for a while but clearly is giving way to Next-gen agriculture (Gen-2). You might want to review this debate on Food vs. Nutritional security: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/w…
  2. Gen 2: Digital agriculture: Powered by Big Data, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, IOT and other innovations this generation of technologies are trying to find the right blend and balance of digital + Hardware + Agronomic + Biological technologies to address the wide sustainability and nutrition gap we have to close down without effecting the productivity progress. Quite rightly the world is picking up focus on cross-over technologies (Over $10 billion investments in Agtech start-ups in 2017: Source Agfunder) trying to provide us with both sustainability and productivity. An ideal end point to this model is a pure circular agriculture economy. The benefits of this model of agriculture are already being felt but we are just at the start of what appears to be a very long journey. You might want to review this interesting piece: Global Macro Forces that are Facing Businesses and Consumers