As many of you know, our firm has deep roots in supporting and servicing Ag and Ag businesses. For over 20 years we have been committed to this industry and have learned much and developed many great relationships. I dare to say we have received more than we have given… at least that’s the way it feels most of the time. As I look forward, I wish the best for the industry and New York State’s AG economy. It is because of this I decide to frame this thought…
As documented and published: The Global Threats to Agriculture
- Climate Change
- Responding to the water crisis
- Urbanization and land scarcity
- Invasive species and disease
“Future agriculture will use sophisticated technologies such as robots, temperature and moisture sensors, aerial images, and GPS technology. These advanced devices and precision agriculture and robotic systems will allow farms to be more profitable, efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly.” Source* Oliver Wyman
Ag’s Greatest Challenge
The above information is certainly true; our future is dependent on continued adaption and change. However, there is one overarching item that seems to be missed when you research the future of Ag. One that is in and of itself, arguably Ag’s biggest challenge. You see, without attention to this issue the rest may not matter. Perhaps a little dramatic and we can debate the chicken and the egg here, but as I suggest this, keep an open mind…. It is the investment in our people that is our greatest challenge. Driving farm culture, leadership development, mentoring and communication is an area we can improve on.
What I am suggesting takes effort, commitment, resolve and focus to invest in things we may not have traditionally seen as a worthwhile investment. Yet now it maybe a necessity. Spending time and resources to develop and attract talent needs to be a focus. We cannot do anything without good, trained, hardworking, passionate people.
You see our future lies with those who want to do the jobs we are doing! Laborers, managers, those who problem solve, those who work the land, raise and nurture animals, grow fruit, vegetables and crops etc. We need to find and identify those who will dedicate their lives to the future work of Agriculture. Whether they are 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years old, they are affected by those doing the jobs now and our/their attitude, actions, and words.
I submit to you that if we do not make a conscious, deliberate decision to invest time in finding, inspiring, mentoring and teaching those up next- our future is in jeopardy.
If we cannot attract and retain talent to our industry our future looks bleak. Science and technology will not solve this problem in the next 50 years…. (In my humble opinion)
The future is not lost. The opportunity and demand are great and growing. It’s our focus, attitude and effort in this area which must change. Change to better build a vison for those who want to directly be involved in agriculture. We need to inspire the attitude to “do what needs to be done” no matter what, no matter when, or no matter how. We need to invest time in teaching, developing, and driving culture in our organizations so our people stay, grow, and attract others. We need to provide them with the tools to be successful. Keeping people engaged, giving them the tools, and developing passion for what it is we do, is, in my opinion, our greatest challenge.
Mark J Modzeleski