COVID-19 is Changing the Way Ag Businesses Operate

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While small businesses around the country are focused on how COVID-19 is changing the way they do business right now, they also need to be focused on the long-term effects of the current pandemic.

According to Forrester, a U.S.-based market research company, there are certain pandemic-induced trends that will forever change the business landscape. This includes the Ag industry. While most businesses understand the short-term impact of these trends, the savviest Ag businesses are preparing for what all of this will mean in the coming months and years. 

What follows are some of what Forrester refers to as “macro shifts” in business and technology. These shifts are the ones that are likely to remain long after the current COVID-19 crisis has passed.

  1. Hybrid experiences. There is no question that convenience is important to farmers and ranchers right now. Online business is booming but many farmers and ranchers would prefer face-to-face meetings. Years from now, the most successful Ag brands will be those that provide customers a hybrid experience.
  2. Data sharing. Digital engagement is critical during the pandemic. While it is a necessity right now, it is likely that in the long-term, farmers and ranchers who were once reticent to share too much personal data will be less opposed to doing so. The farmers and ranchers are learning every day how sharing their personal information can positively influence their buying and selling experiences.
  3. The future of work. The thought of shifting a company’s entire workforce to a remote model seemed impossible six months ago. What was once seen as a luxurious perk for the few – and a productivity killer at that – is now the norm. In the coming years, offices will likely be empty. Those that remain occupied will be unrecognizable.
  4. Crisis management. Resiliency will be the gold standard when it comes to running an Ag business. Up until 2020, crisis management was always discussed but no one dreamed of the crisis businesses would experience because of COVID-19.  Investments in risk management will be essential so that businesses can evaluate and respond to risk in real time. Let’s face it, farmers know how to roll with the punches but few – if any –were prepared for the seismic changes that 2020 brought. Going forward, Ag business owners will spend significantly more time and money evaluating potential business risks and making sure that they have the tools to mitigate those risks.

COVID-19 has changed the way almost every single company in America does business. While the short-term implications are significant, the long-term ones are going to change the landscape forever.