A new year brings new ideas, new technologies, and new trends. Agriculture will be shaped by many new consumer and business practices in the year ahead. Here are some top trends to watch for that will impact the agriculture industry this year.
A trend in consumer buying habits is wanting to know where their produce comes from—being able to track what they buy back to the farm and the farmer it originated from. With blockchain, both consumers and businesses will know exactly where their crops (produce, meat, etc.) came from, how they were grown, how they were shipped, and how they were stored. Ultimately, this allows consumers and businesses to have a trustworthy and transparent view of the supply chain, but it also means companies will be able to manage every part of the supply chain and hold farmers accountable for production practices and resource use, which can impact the ways farmers currently operate.
Currently, electric vehicles represent 2% of total global vehicle sales, but this is trending upward. Experts predict this percentage could reach 24% in only eight years. This has a direct impact on the demand for ethanol. As electric cars continue to innovate, they are expected to become more and more popular. If so, the demand for gasoline may decrease, which means the demand for ethanol could decrease. If the demand for ethanol decreases, the demand for corn could decrease, directly impacting corn farmers.
The latest emphasis on vaccines to prevent the spread of illnesses has transferred to the agriculture industry. Access to animal vaccines is expected to increase this year to help spread vaccine-preventable illnesses in livestock—specifically foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) disease. More accessible vaccines for livestock means the likelihood of losing healthy livestock to diseases should decrease.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March 2020, plant-based protein sales increased tremendously. Sales reached $29.4 billion in 2020 and Bloomberg predicts this could increase to $162 billion by 2030, comprising 7.7% of the global protein market. Demand is increasing as companies like Impossible Foods Inc. and Beyond Meat Inc. continue to bring alternative protein products to food stores and restaurants. To compete, brands like Tyson Foods Inc. are also releasing plant-based meat alternatives. This could have a direct impact on the meat farming industry. If plant proteins take a 25% share of meat sales, U.S. farm income would drop by 10% or more, as livestock generates 47% of cash receipts for farmers currently.
Agriculture consumes 80% of all water use in the U.S. To reduce water consumption, farmers are looking for ways to cut back on the amount of water they use. Some farmers are looking to harvest more water in their fields or even reuse water.
Harbor America has been an expert in the agricultural industry for over 12 years. Through our payroll, HR, and risk management services, we provide expert guidance and industry knowledge to our clients. Harbor America’s team of experts will assist your business in reviewing and analyzing current and expected industry trends to better equip your business for success.