The profound changes that have affected the agricultural sector of developed countries in modern times are perhaps best illustrated by the evolution of production techniques. Mechanization, new chemical inputs such as herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers, genetic selection of crops and animals, new crop varieties, and countless other technical and organizational improvements have allowed a generalized increase in physical output while, at the same time, agriculture suffered a massive exodus of labor forces towards the non-farm sectors. Indeed, one of the stylized facts of developed countries post-war growth is that productivity in agriculture has grown faster than that of other sectors (Jorgenson andGpllop). This remarkable record naturally begs the question of what is at its root, and a view that commands considerable consensus is that agricultural productivity growth is due to (past) investments in scientific research and development (R&D).
Moschini, GianCarlo and LAPAN, HARVEY E., "Intellectual Property Rights and the Welfare Effects of Agricultural R&D" (1997). Economic Staff Paper Series. 280.