Disruptors to the Ag Economy
Article By: Jenny Jereczek, Director of Ag Banking for SFB
The future of farming may be challenged by these market disruptors.
Carbon sequestration has been a topic frequently discussed in the ag industry recently. A study by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2018 indicated 14% of greenhouse gas emissions came from the agriculture industry compared to 28% from transportation, 27% from generation of electricity, 22% from industry, and 12% from residential. Some carbon sequestration has happened naturally in the ag industry by increases in production per acre and efficiencies gained in producing meat and dairy products over the last 40 years. The industry has also greatly improved on controlling nitrogen leaching, etc. However, despite this natural progression, carbon sequestration will continue to be a focus and cannot be ignored when planning and mapping the future of your operation.
Plant-based or lab-raised meat is another disruptor to not be ignored in the ag industry. Similar to soy or almond-based drinks disrupting the dairy sector, plant-based, and lab-raised meat could become a real threat to the future of the livestock industry. Arguments for these alternative meat sources include supply chain stability stemming from the packing plant shutdowns in 2020, shorter growth period (lab-grown chicken takes approximately six days versus six weeks), and the sustainability as plant-based and lab-grown meat promote utilizing fewer resources, reducing greenhouse gas and creating less waste. However, lab-raised meat still remains costly to produce and may not have same the nutritional value as natural meat.
The future of agriculture will undoubtedly continue to evolve and new disruptors may emerge. Education in several facets will be extremely important for future success. Producers need to understand what disruptors could impact their operation and assess the costs versus benefits when evaluating the implementation of new practices. The education of consumers will continue to be just as important. Informing the consumer of where their food comes from, how it is grown or raised, and highlighting the sustainability of production agriculture will help them understand and support the agricultural industry.
Jenny Jereczek is the director of Ag Banking for Security Financial Bank. You can contact her at 715-672-2427 or firstname.lastname@example.org.