Road Warrior

Enthusiastic About the Future of Agriculture: Top Ten List, No. 6

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As a continuation of my series on being enthusiastic about agriculture, here is the sixth reason in my top-10 countdown.

 

Number 6: Growth of Emerging Nations

The agricultural industry has been one of the bright spots in the U.S. economy.  Many people do not realize that the United States is the largest agricultural producer nation in the world, with efficient operations and high-quality products.  The growth of the U.S. agriculture industry is directly linked to the growth of emerging nations, i.e., the BRICS and the KIMT, which refer to Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, as well as South Korea, Indonesia, Mexico and Turkey.

Improvements in the standard of living compounded by population growth have converged on the demand side providing a “cup half full” perspective to agriculture.  Since the year 2000, China's standard of living on average has increased six-fold, while positive growth in family income has been prevalent in the other emerging nations, but to a lesser extent.  This has fueled the demand for food, fiber and fuel.  Currently, the U.S. agriculture industry has a competitive advantage over many global competitors concerning agricultural productivity and product quality.

To maintain this advantage, the next generation of agriculturalists will need to understand the cultures and buying habits of emerging and developed nations of the world.  This is why I am an advocate of internships and study abroad programs for young people, as well as hosting youth from these regions so they gain a better understanding of the U.S. agricultural industry.  The agriculture leadership programs offered by many states for young producers are excellent venues to put globalization of the agriculture industry in perspective.

While this global development has given U.S. agriculture a growth spurt, the challenge will be maintaining a cost-efficient structure.  Many of the growing emerging nations are forming strategic alliances in the production and infrastructure in the southern hemisphere related to food, fiber and fuel, which will challenge the U.S. agriculture industry to stay ahead of the curve.

The bottom line is that many people are involved in agriculture because they feel they make a difference in people's lives around the world through the products they produce and services they provide.

 

Read reason’s seven through 10 to be enthusiastic:

No. 7: Profitability

No. 8: One Size Does Not Fit All

No. 9: Technology Convergence

No. 10: A Five-Dimensional Industry

 

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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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