The agriculture industry influences many sectors of the economy locally as well as internationally. From farmers and real estate to supermarkets and restaurants, it’s important to understand what is going on in this industry and how it will affect the production and distribution of food. These agricultural trends that are being seen this year are likely to set the stage for many years going forward and beyond. Issues like new vaccinations, the use of global water resources and new technological ability to monitor crops even further will continue to play a role in the United States and in agricultural procedures in the rest of the world.

Animal Vaccines

Vaccines are an incredible human accomplishment. In the new year, vaccines continue to be applied to many areas of agriculture. Efforts being made to help provide even more access to animal vaccines. In the United States, officials are concerned about the spread of certain vaccine preventable illnesses in livestock. As a result they are trying to set up a bank to combat FMD disease. They are concerned there are only about 1.75 million doses on hand. Officials hope to have the desired twenty-five million doses on hand via the use of a vaccine bank.

Attracting New People

Another issue that remains at the forefront of efforts to make agriculture continue to pay off is attracting new people to the farming world. Many graduates who enter farming programs face a great deal of debt once they are done with their studies. In the meantime, the average age of current farmers is about sixty. Farmers want to work closely with young people to the mutual benefit of both parties and think about their own retirement. Helping young people discover how rewarding agriculture can be is essential. Officials are working to help them reduce their debt and find a place for themselves in this all important world.

Increased Income For Small Farmers

Large farm operations constitute less than half of all farms in the United States. Yet these farms is expected to continue to rise. Experts who watch the farm industry closely anticipate such farms will experience growth and income of about 9.3 percent when compared to the previous year. Small farms are those that help power the rest of the industry and bring much desired food to many parts of the United States and the rest of the world. This increased income should help such farmers pay their bills as well as providing additional capital to invest in new equipment.

Crop Monitoring and Other Technologies

Just as technology has transformed many areas of the economy, it will continue to have an impact on the world of farming. According to officials at the FCC, over twenty-four million Americans lack access to the world of broadband internet. Farmers are increasingly rising to the challenge and discovering new ways to put their use of broadband and other forms of technology to work for them. A farmer can now use many types of apps to monitor crops each day. Less expensive drones deliver things where and when they are needed.

Agricultural drones are easier to fly and easier to understand the data they provide. These are also drones that can respond well even in the event of changing weather conditions. Extremely localized weather data is also being offered. Now farmers can have even more detailed predictions about the state of the local weather in their area. This helps them determine what should be planted in any given timeframe as well as if crops should be harvested if weather conditions are about to change in their area.

Lightweight graphene is also being used to provide even more data about field and soil conditions in any given area. This kind of “plant tattoo” can help scientists and farmers work together to decide how best to use use soils as well as breed up better plants with higher yields and more ability to survive even under less than ideal conditions.

Focus on Tariffs

A tariff is essentially a tax on goods and services that are imported from one place to the next. In the United States, as in the rest of the world, there are many farmers who not only grow and share what they grow to local markets. Many farmers also sell to other parts of the world. In an effort to influence policy in other places, the American president has chosen this method to push forth certain global policies. At the same time, the president and his advisors recognize that such efforts might cause problems for farmers in the United States. This is why the president has provided a sixteen billion dollar package that is intended to help offset the worst effects of this problem. Those who observe agriculture in the United States and worldwide are watching this issue carefully. It is unclear what effects such subsidies and tariffs will have on the income of farmers. These funds should continue to have an impact on the world of agriculture this year as well as the new few years and even beyond.

Food Safety

Food safety is an area of major concern for farmers and all those involved in agriculture. Farmers need to be aware of the potential for contamination as they work in the fields and as food is transported from one place to the next. Even a minor problem such as an e coli outbreak can lead to serious costs that farmers must be prepared to absorb. Experts estimate that such costs vary by the kind of farm and the type of material being grown and produced. In general, these costs range from about a third of a percent for those growing artichokes to more than two percent of profits for farmers bringing watermelon to market. These costs may continue to grow as farmers face increased regulations in the future. It’s imperative for all those who are involved in farming to be aware of all upcoming regulations that may impact their current farming methods. Doing so can help ward off any potential problems and keep all of their produce safe from any form of contamination.

Hemp Production

The 2018 Farm Bill made it legal for farmers to produce and sell all forms of hemp. This substance can be used to create many items as well as for those who want to smoke it at home. The hemp market is one that is poised to see enormous growth in the United States. In 2017, the entire market production of in the United States was estimated at $820 million. Experts who watch this industry anticipate much further growth in this field in the coming year as a result of making it legal to grow and use hemp. Farmers can now choose to make this crop part of their overall kind of crops and set aside a specific area of the farm to bring it to market. Experts caution that any farmer who is thinking about doing so make sure they understand the ramifications of this new law and exactly what it means for all those who choose to make this crop their own.

Interaction With Clients

Direct interaction with clients is a must for all workers and business owners. The same is true for farmers. Farmers have increasingly come to understand the need to speak to their consumers directly. Using social media makes this process easier. Farmers can create a website and help people find them. For certain farmers, this process has been incredibly useful. For example, those who run farms that grow pick-your-own crops want to make sure that anyone who is going to visit them understands what kind of crops are on offer before they arrive. Studies indicate that forty percent of all farmers are on Facebook. Many others are making use of different social media such as Twitter and Instagram to connect with people locally and around the world. Social media accounts can also make it clear that farmers serve a vitally important role in the region’s economy and the life of the community. Knowing who’s growing one’s food makes people feel more connected to the land.

Corn Takes Center Stage

Corn has long been one of the most popular of all American crops. It continues to assume a major role in American agriculture. In the United States, officials at the FDA state that there should be about 89.8 million acres of corn planted in the country. This is up from 86.7 million acres in the previous year. Corn plays a major role not only in the United States. The amount of corn grown in the United States also helps to feed the rest of the world. Foreign governments and the people they serve will continue to rely on this crop from the United States in order to help them put food on the table.

Water Use

Water is the foundation of many agricultural crops in the U.S. and worldwide. Water access continues to be one of the many issues that farmers will face this coming year. Agriculture consumes eighty percent of all water use in the United States. Farmers are looking for ways to help them reduce their consumption of water for their crops. In many instances, they are choosing to harvest more water on their fields. They’re also reusing the water that they use. For example, the use of so-called dirty water can help by providing water for their animals and then get used to help water the crops when the animals are done drinking.

Article by

Linchpin Team in Chicago, Raleigh, and Wake Forest.