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Published On: Mon, Aug 29th, 2016

The top issues facing agribusiness in the 21st century

As we plunge forward bravely into the heart of the 21st century, there are many issues that face farmers and investors in agribusiness.

While there are no easy solutions, business professionals, scientists, and farmers are meeting the challenge head on. In this article, we will describe the problems that these stakeholders are grappling with on a daily basis.

An increasing global population

The population of the world hit 7 billion people in October 2011. Currently sitting at 7.4 billion, its exponential growth continues unabated, making feeding all these new human beings a daunting task. As a result, increasing yields, increasing the amount of arable land, and pursuing new advances like vertical and urban farming has become the focus of agribusiness professionals everywhere.

photo/ Agricultural Research Services

photo/ Agricultural Research Services

Bennett Kireker knows all about this, as he has sold numerous state-of-the-art agricultural harvesters and other machines to help farmers get the most out of their plots of land. Thanks to professionals such as him, farms throughout America and around the world will be able to feed the expanding global population.

Climate change

The science is undeniable – the world is warming up at an unprecedented rate, and most of it is due to carbon emissions produced by human beings. While efforts are being made to limit the increase in global temperatures, it is unavoidable that some warming will occur.

The effects of a warming climate has been made clear to farmers around the world. Almost every year in the past decade has been the warmest on record, leading to an increase in flooding and drought.

This has increased the demand for irrigation systems to get farms through dry periods, crops that perform better in drier/wetter conditions, and other technologies that will help farmers deal with a climate that is more erratic.

Sustainability

While agricultural advances in the 20th century helped feed a world that grew from 1 billion people in 1900 to 6 billion people in 2000, they came at a price. The techniques that made this expansion possible has made land less productive over time, making these strategies unsustainable in the long run.
As such, the practice of monoculture has been on the way out, with farmers beginning to rotate different crops over growing seasons to help the soil replenish its nutrients. Additionally, livestock owners have started to move their herds over grazing land at a more aggressive pace, as this helps land regenerate itself rather than becoming desert.

The continuing implementation of technology in agriculture

Advances in technology have not contained themselves to the online world. They have begun to leak out into various areas of our physical existence, and agriculture has not gone unaffected by this trend.

Big data analysis is a big part of this revolution, as sensors connected to the latest agricultural equipment have allowed companies like John Deere help farmers save on fuel, determine what crops to plant, and when to plough.

This has maximized yields and increased profits for operators, and it has also helped to make agriculture more attractive for new entrants.

Guest Author: Lolita Di

farmer and sheepherd of sheepa duck Photo by Scott Bauer

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