For most of human history, most people have toiled sunup to sundown merely to produce a subsistence diet. Today, most people haven’t even visited a farm, but as recently as 1900, 90% of the American population lived and worked on farms. The quantity and quality of food in any supermarket today would have been a dazzling sight to them. Do you know how this happened?

Two developments are responsible for this.

You can probably guess that one was the introduction of mechanized agriculture in the forms or the McCormick reaper, combines and the steam engine to power them. The other invention is less well known but perhaps more important. It is a process that extracts from the air a vital substance for food production that theretofore had come from animals in limited supply but was abundant in the air we breathe. Unlocking it from the atmosphere was impossible until some German chemists after 20,000 experiments invented a machine described as having the “strength of a sumo wrestler, the speed of a sprinter and the grace of a ballerina.”  

The output of this machine is the reason you’re not getting up before dawn to plow, weed and harvest. More important, this machine has doubled the agricultural productivity of the planet, literally producing “food from the air.” What is this miracle ingredient of modern agriculture? This two minute video from Johan Norberg’s “New and Improved Blog” will explain why you’re not hungry or toiling in the fields.