Notably, 68% of attendees named weather extremes/volatility as the single biggest factor affecting North American food and agribusiness in 2013. That concern far outweighed the next two closest factors – consumer demand (13%) and policy/regulation (10%). Geopolitical events, trade/tariffs/exchange rates, and policy/regulation all received votes in the single digits.

 “Given that the North American industry, particularly the U.S., is in the middle of the worst drought in over 50 years,” said Cordingley, “these views are quite understandable and represent a significant issue that is top of mind for most food industry players as we enter 2013.”

 

Agribusiness Increasing Risk Management In Response to Volatility

Reflecting the concern over continued weather volatility, 59% of respondents said that 2012 drought has changed their views about risk management in their business. Executives at the Rabobank Forum cited an increased focus on financial liquidity (25%), increased investment in risk management and insurance (21%) and greater diversification (13%) as their three leading solutions to hedge against continued volatility in weather patterns and commodity markets.