Go back a year and you will find a lot of articles about what changes 2018 would bring to the agricultural industry. While some of the predictions proved true, others did not. And some things that happened were never even on anyone’s radar.
While predictions aren’t always correct, it is still important to consider what the New Year may bring to the Ag industry. Keeping in mind that nothing is set in stone, here’s what many Ag experts feel will be some of the most significant trends in agriculture in the coming year.
- Millennial farmers will make their mark. Millennial farmers aren’t farmers because their parents or grandparents farmed. Many of the newest farmers will hold degrees in agriculture and will look to bring more, and more sophisticated, technologically to the industry. This includes things like robotics, drones and sensors.
- Small farms will join the precision Ag revolution. Agtech is revolutionizing farm operations and one of the fastest growing segments this is impacting is small farms. One reason for this is the fact that small farmers are able to adapt and evolve more quickly than larger, commercial farms because they can make decisions without following a large chain of command or complicated approval process.
- Livestock production will rise. Livestock production has been growing for the past five years and shows no signs of slowing. While tariffs have been a bump in the road, most Ag experts don’t believe tariffs will have a tremendous impact on the demand for meat. Instead, the U.S. will remain very competitive as far as beef and pork. Even sheep and lamb are expected to rebound in the coming year.
- Tough times will persist for the dairy industry. While it would be difficult for dairy prices to go any lower, there may be a bit of an improvement in 2019. The bad news is that, any gains will not be enough to offset losses over the last several years.
- Working capital will continue to disappear. While it isn’t necessarily an issue of net worth, working capital is expected to continue to disappear. While most working capital shortfalls can be worked out if caught early, for example, through refinancing loans, many farmers with capital issues will opt to get out of farming all together.
While no one can predict the future, it is always better to be prepared for what is likely to happen than to be caught off guard.