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Food and Ag at the Intersection
You are here:   Blog  »  Farm and Ranch Management  »  Food and Ag at the Intersection

May 6, 2019 

Last week Farmers National Company, Gavilon, and Lindsay Corporation hosted the Food and Ag at the Intersection Symposium in Omaha. All three companies are headquartered in Omaha and deal in different aspects of the agricultural industry. The focus of the symposium was to discuss the impact of consumer trends on investment opportunities in agriculture and to look at how production agriculture's traditional players should modify their businesses to fit into ever changing markets. Thought leaders from a wide array of farm to consumer industries presented on consumer trends that are affecting the way we produce, receive, and consume food.

In multiple and widely varying ways, consumer trends are affecting the future of food and farming. Generational trends in food consumption are being driven by the aging of the baby boom generation and the growing influence of millennials. Some of these trends have on-going impact while others are fleeting. The food we eat is becoming more of a life style choice for those who can afford it. This is the reason we see increasing interest in fruits, vegetables, and nuts. The general lack of scientific understanding is driving labeling issues and marketing opportunities for some ag industries while challenging many food producers. The rise of alternative proteins, including plant-based and cellular grown, is in response to consumer trends for protein options.

Agricultural producers have traditionally responded to consumer trends when there was a financial incentive or market signal to change. The increase in the number of small farms selling produce locally has grown as has the number of larger farming operations striving for efficiency in commodity grain production. Local produce is in response to consumers wanting to know where their food comes from and farm consolidation is the decades long response to the desire for cheap food. Today's farmer can also make a choice to move to organic production as the demand for this type of produce, meat, and grains grows larger.

As food and agriculture look ahead, technology will be driving and responding to consumer trends. There is a growing interest in sustainability and traceability of our food. Various technological advances will help farmers and the food industry respond to both areas. Increasing grain and food production will be possible with new plant breeding technologies and scientific developments to raise crop yields. No one knows for sure what new or big trend in food preference or production systems is around the corner, but we know that change happens faster then ever. Some trends will have a lasting impact while others will be short lived.
 

   

Randy Dickhut 

Senior Vice President - Real Estate Operations 

 

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