Is It Just Me or Is Agriculture Uniting?

Not long ago, before the drought in places like California and Canada and the relentless rains we have been experiencing in parts of the delta and midwest, it seems the “ag talk” was dominated by divisions in the industry. I’m referring to debates about organic vs conventional, GMO vs Non-GMO, small vs large, etc.

My Facebook and Twitter feeds were non-stop propaganda advocating one type of agriculture being superior to another, and poking fun at, or worse, anyone who “did ag” differently.

Recent events have proven that the one true threat to agriculture is NOT going to come from within our industry. Everyone in production agriculture experiences the same risks and challenges such as weather, nutrition, the environment, pests, public perception, sustainability, marketing,  etc. This goes for whether your customer is the local elevator or the local farmers market. 

I see a  “silver lining” to the challenges we are currently facing: it’s that members from all different types of agriculture seem to be coming together. Facebook groups such as “My Job Depends On Ag” have emerged which now boasts over 32,000 members who are all passionate about the industry no matter how one may choose to participate in it.

The fact is, feeding a population of over 9 billion people will take ALL of us, and a lot more. A global population of 9 billion will include a massive spectrum of individual preferences that will include wanting their food cheap, local, in season, out of season, plentiful, organic, conventional, heritage, heirloom, processed, raw, vegan, meaty, and everywhere in between. Let’s continue to support each other in this industry as we serve these diverse and growing interests. One method of agriculture does not threaten another, we are all just meeting customer demands the best way possible in the midst of enormous challenges.

There will always be hungry people, and commoditized businesses will always reward efficiency, while niche businesses will always reward specialization. Maybe, over time when the water issues get worked out in California and the midwest is on track for a bumper crop we’ll go back to poking holes in the way others “do ag”, but I hope not.

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Tim Hammerich

Tim is a strategic communications consultant, founder of AgGrad, and the host of the "Future of Agriculture" podcast. Originally from California, he is now based out of Boise, Idaho.