Futurist Cities Four Megatrends For Agriculture In 2022

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Source: Ag Web

You have two choices. As trends change, you can adapt your farm and capitalize on the opportunities, or you can stay the course and watch your business decline. “Today is the slowest rate of change we will experience,” says Jack Uldrich, a futurist and former naval intelligence officer. “Our world is not slowing down; the pandemic unexpectedly accelerated the future by five to 10 years.” What trends will shape the next year or five? Watch these areas.

Blockchain Technology
In somewhat simple terms, Uldrich says, blockchain technology is a distributed digital ledger. “What it allows businesses to do is have a secure, trustworthy and transparent view of the supply chain,” he says. “With blockchain in the not-too-distant future, both consumers and businesses are going to know exactly where their crops came from, how they were grown, how they were shipped, how they were stored, etc.”

On the farm level, Uldrich says blockchain technology allows companies such as Cargill, PepsiCo and General Mills to hold farmers accountable for their production practices and resource usage.

“I know this will not sit well with all farmers,” he says. “What I’m saying is customers will work with producers who they think are doing the best in limiting their water use, reducing methane or reducing CO2 emissions, and blockchain will give them the technology to do that.”
Regenerative Agriculture
Big food companies are betting on regenerative agriculture to thwart climate change, Uldrich says. That is translating into paying farmers to sequester carbon and adopt conservation practices.

“We’re seeing European governments be more aggressive on requiring agribusinesses and farmers to get more se-rious about regenerative agriculture, and the Biden administration will likely provide financial incentives for farmers to store carbon in their land. This is a huge opportunity for farmers; it’s not too soon for every farmer to begin getting up to speed on this issue.”

Electric Vehicles
By 2025, electric vehicles could total $330 billion, according to consulting firm AlixPartners. Electric vehicles now represent 2% of total global vehicle sales and could be about 24% of total sales by 2030.

How many people are buying electric cars? Is battery technology improving?

“Pay attention to those trends because I think electric vehicles are going to take off faster than most farmers are currently estimating,” he says. “If so, demand for gasoline goes down, which means demand for ethanol goes down. If ethanol demand goes down, the demand for corn goes down. My point is not to say that will happen, but corn farmers should be prepared for that possibility.”

Plant-Based Proteins
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, plant-based meat sales soared to high levels.

“That had a lot of folks worried,” says Jayson Lusk, Purdue University agricultural economist. “But, that sales growth seems to have leveled off a bit in the past few months.”

While the growth in sales has slowed, keep an eye on plant-based proteins (meat and eggs) and milk, Uldrich says: “Plant-based protein is going to begin eroding some sales of traditional meat, milk and eggs. It is not going to become 100% of the market, but I think that it’s going to grow faster than other food segments.”

 

Futureproof Your Farm
As a business owner, take time to think about the future, advises futurist Jack Uldrich. He offers these three ways to have an “AHA” moment about the future.

Awareness: Be aware of how fast the world is changing and what trends will affect us.

Humility: What served us well yesterday in our jobs or our industry might not be sufficient in the world of tomorrow.

Action: If your action solves the wrong problem, your efforts are worthless. Instead, ponder this question: What is the “tomorrow” problem you must begin solving today? That will help lead you to the best action.