Big Changes to Agriculture: What Was Predicted? Where Are We Headed?

A lot can happen within a year, and this year has been exceptional for the Ag industry. Many in the industry have been keenly tuned to shifting industry trends – monitoring whether predictions from the previous year would come true.

Many of those bold predictions came true in the world of agriculture, transforming how executives and other leaders in agriculture were hired.

So as we head into 2021’s harvest season, we’re taking a moment to look back at where the industry has come, and what those changes indicate for the future. 

The Massive Changes in Agriculture Tech

In 2020, it was predicted that machine learning, AI, sensors/IoT, and data management would only continue to become more integral in the Agriculture industry. 

According to the Global Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Agriculture Market Analysis, there was a projected 28.38% CAGR between 2019 and 2024. And it was expected that this would impact agribusiness over the next decade. 

Enter 2021, a year when many farms and agribusinesses moved towards digital technological transformation – largely confirming this prediction. While this shift does include much of what was discussed above, it was perhaps accelerated due to increased safety measures during COVID-19.

The Pandemic is Still Putting Pressure on Agriculture and Agribusinesses

One prediction that did not go the way many in the industry had hoped: the pandemic is not in its twilight. While we now have vaccines, the pandemic is still a very present concern for the Agriculture industry, especially those employers in rural hotspots where the Delta Variant is rapidly spreading and putting many US Agriculture businesses at a heightened risk. 

In response, many farmers are using even more digital technologies to keep up with social distancing. Even those farmers who were on the fence about learning new technologies have begun to come around. Not only are they using more digital technologies in their day-to-day operations, and to better help them interview and hire management-level, professional, and executive Agricultural talent, but they are continuing to use more digital platforms to communicate with partners, insurance agents, and bankers remotely, limiting in-person contact. 

Now that farmers have seen the benefits of these technologies (e.g., lessened travel costs, easier scheduling), there’s likely no turning back. 

Agriculture and the Rise of Transparency in Our Food Chain

One unexpected outcome of the pandemic was a crash-course in how efficient our food distribution system was. We witnessed, for example, how a disruption to the food supply chain could have shocking consequences from farm to table.

From this came many new technological innovations in logistics for Agriculture, especially those with automated audits which are providing the industry with valuable insights about how these commodities are transported to the consumer.

An added benefit of this innovation is that this data would also be available to the consumer to meet the rise in demand for transparency in our food chain which was also predicted by industry experts. The influx of available data isn’t reserved to increased transparency of our food sources and their transportation. The added data also creates a more holistic picture of nutritional content of our food and the carbon footprint of its delivery systems.

It is further predicted that beyond 2021, these tools for transparency and traceability will push even more innovations towards enhanced quality, efficiencies in production, and distribution.

Growers can better decide where they should plant crops for the best yield, which crops they should grow, and how supply should be managed to prevent shortages. 

Agriculture Industry Will Look A lot Different

There have been many other projections that have come true which continue to dramatically reshape the future of the Agriculture industry:

  • That older generations of farmers would continue to retire or otherwise leave the industry. And that many employers will only continue to transition their executive and management-level roles to newer, younger candidates. 
  • The size and profile of farms would change as many farms are either consolidated or shift into more niche operations.
  • Market fluctuations, driven by price volatility, which create new systems, processes, and new precision tech for further efficiencies and lower overhead costs. 

But of all these predictions for changes in Agriculture, perhaps none will have had the impact as the demand for increased diversity in our executive, professional, and management-level agricultural talent. This shift has led 2021 to be an especially break-out year for women in agriculture. 

More women than ever are expected to take leadership positions in agriculture. And if the proven benefits of diverse workplaces such as increased innovation, resilience, and improved workplace culture are any indication, the agricultural businesses that lead the drive for increased diversity will most certainly reap the benefits. 

Partner with AG1 for the best Ag management and executive talent

The changes in agriculture are coming at lightning speed. And keeping up with these trends is a full-time job in and of itself. But if you intend to thrive for generations to come, leveraging these transformations is a must.

Keeping up with the evolutions in agriculture means you need top-performing industry executives who are attuned to changes and updates to the industry. The good news is you can gain access to these candidates by partnering with AG1 Source for top leadership talents in the farming industry. Contact us today to find out more!