Road Warrior

Enthusiastic About the Future of Agriculture: Top-10 Countdown

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Recently, a longtime friend who is now an agricultural news broadcaster asked me an intriguing question: “You've traveled 8 million air miles, been in every state, and worked with all types of agricultural groups. Could you give me the top 10 reasons why you are enthusiastic about the future of agriculture?” Well, here is the first edition of my countdown. Subsequent columns will focus on the remaining factors.

 

Number 10: A Five-Dimensional Industry

Agriculture is five-dimensional. That is, the industry is involved in producing food, fiber, fuel, products for the life sciences (i.e. medical and nutraceutical uses) and life experiences. As Jeff Simmons, one of my former students from Cornell who is president of Elanco, stated, by 2050 the world will need 100% more food, and 70% of it must come from efficiency producing and enhancing technology. Technology is defined as best practices or doing it better using new innovative tools and practices, and utilizing genetics to enhance desired traits in plants and animals in a sustainable manner.

With over 80% of all Americans two generations away from the farm or ranch, entrepreneurial businesses that link people to the producers of food, fiber and fuel and provide authentic life experiences will be a growing field. Of course, the growing demand for fiber and fuel, and the evolution of technology with the interaction of the human high-touch will be critical, as well.

 

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What's Road Warrior?

Dave Kohl is an ag economist specializing in business management and ag finance. He can be reached at sullylab@vt.edu.

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