It’s agriculture week! At least, it seems that way — on Friday, I keynoted the Alberta Beef Industry Conference; for three days this week, I’m speaking to a select group of growers who are customers of Syngenta, one of the world’s leading agribusinesses; on Friday, I keynote the Ontarion Farm Equipment Association, and two weeks hence, an association of soybean farmers!
I’m focusing on my trends for agriculture. What is fascinating with this group of people is that they tend to be some of the most innovative individuals on the planet. They’ve been regularly buffetted by the ups and downs of the agricultural cycle, the vagaries of weather, the unrelability of commodity markets, and a flood of new science, methodologies, treatments and seed varieties.
The typical city-dweller has an image of someone who complains and runs to the government for subsidies; the reality is that the typical farmer is an astute business person with a fine ear for innovation, someone who thrives by the exhiliaration and challenge of an extremely complex business; someone who is optimistic about the future and the potential profitability of their industry. The groups I have been dealing with relish learning about the new science surrounding the industry, and are eager to learn what needs to be done to continue going forward with a focus on opportunity.
Key fact: global food consumption is going to double in the next 20 years due to population growth. There is little new arable land coming on stream. This means existing producers will play a key role. Good thing, since their attitudes are certainly there!