The agriculture industry is always evolving and the need to produce more food for less money keeps American farmers under pressure. Add to that the dwindling number of farms in the country and many people are left to wonder just what the future of farming looks like. While it is impossible to predict where the next 30 years will go, these are some of the trends to keep an eye on.
Demand Will Not Slow
If there is one thing you can count on, it’s an ever-increasing demand for food as the population grows. The world’s population is expected to reach 9.1 billion people in 2050, up from 7.58 billion in 2019. An increase in global income will also drive the need for more meat-based protein in developing countries while demand for plant-based proteins will simultaneously rise in developed countries. In western countries, there is often a trend toward vegetarianism and veganism as incomes increase. Overall, this means that food production must increase 70% in that time in order to meet demand.
Aging Out Of The Farming Population
There has been an increasing age gap in farming as fewer younger people have pursued farming in recent years. Growers over 65 far outnumber farmers under the age of 45 by nearly 2:1 and that gap is only expected to widen in the coming years.
When older growers exit the business, there are fewer younger growers to replace them. As a result, farm consolidation will be significant, changing farm dynamics to larger, more complex businesses.
Technology Will Drive Change
Farm consolidation will drive the need for more outside labor, which means farmers will likely have to rely on high-tech robotic solutions. These go beyond robotic milking machines for dairy cows, for example, and include things like robot tractors and sprayers as well as drones to handle fieldwork in place of humans.
As farming relies more on complex equipment with lots of electronics, data collection will play an increasingly larger role in farm management, as well.
Gene Editing Will Expand
Despite some pushback against genetically-modified crops, GMOs and gene–edited crops will expand to meet rapid increases in demand. Farmers will be able to select crop varieties that have features like resistance to different diseases, drought tolerance or more desirable oil content. This will help eliminate crops that are less desirable and allow farmers to focus on higher-yield production.
Is Your Ag Business Ready For The Future?
If you are looking for highly motivated sales and marketing talent who will add value and drive your ag business into the future, contact the agricultural industry staffing experts at Morris Bixby Group. Our proven strategies for success can help you achieve your recruiting and retention goals quickly and efficiently.