Top 5 Agriculture Issues to be Aware of in 2020
The agricultural industry is essential to our existence but the use of land and labor for farming has decreased over the past fifty years.
The global demand for food and US farming production output more than doubled from 1945 to 2015. We can’t survive if we don’t have farmers producing our food, so it’s imperative that we all support our agricultural industry. This is easier to do if we understand the issues that affect it.
Keep reading to learn more about the five biggest agriculture issues affecting farming in 2020.
1. Mother Nature
One of the biggest factors in whether it’s a successful year in the agricultural industry is the weather. It is also the one factor farmers have the least control over.
If it’s too dry, crops won’t grow. If the season is too wet, crops can rot and suffer from mold or simply drown in the standing water.
Weather that’s too hot for the crops planted can also lead to withered and less than profitable harvest. A late or early frost can leave an entire field worthless.
This doesn’t even take into account natural disasters that take out entire areas and not only affects this year’s harvest but can have an impact for many years to come.
May 2018 to April 2019 was record-breaking in the U.S. with the wettest weather and fewest corn crops planted in recent history.
There were fewer than 1/2 of projected corn crops planted by mid-May in 2018 due to weather concerns. This is the lowest percentage at that point in the year since 1995.
Billions of dollars in profits are lost each year in the agricultural industry because of the effects of climate change on our environment.
Major storms and weather events, rising temperatures, and changes in local weather trends all lead to unpredictable seasons for farmers.
Climate change affects every crop and every farmer’s ability to survive and build a profitable agricultural business.
2. Economic Agriculture Issues
It takes money to make money and that’s especially true in farming. You need to have the money to run the farm through the season so that you can deliver a quality product at the end of the harvest.
In order to deliver a quality crop, you need to be able to finance farming equipment, cover labor costs, have the capital for emergencies and day-to-day overhead costs, and many other expenses associated with running a business.
It isn’t just the farmer’s personal financial situation that can be an economic issue in agriculture. The country and global economic outlook can be a determining factor in the farming industry.
Agriculture can have just as big an impact on a country’s economic growth as the country’s economic growth can have on farming.
3. Environmental Issues
Many environmental issues affect whether farmers have a good year or not. Soil quality, water quality, climate, and terrain are just a few of the environmental issues that may impact profits and productivity for farmers in any given growing season.
If a farmer doesn’t have the right terrain and good quality soil they aren’t going to be able to yield the best quality crops, no matter how hard they try.
Drought or lack of moisture in the soil can’t just be fixed by dumping a bunch of water onto it. Proper irrigation is critical to provide the exact right amount of moisture.
4. Political Factors
Political influence on agriculture is undeniable as one of the biggest factors affecting the industry throughout history and will always play a huge role in its success or failure. The connection has been well documented since 1799 when President George Washington initiated the country’s National Agriculture Board.
It is still felt by the more than 2 million farmers in the U.S. today.
The government is the main influencing factor in what crops are planted, how products are grown, transported, and sold. It determines the restrictions placed on agricultural development and any economic assistance that farmers may receive.
Research is funded and technology developed because of the decisions the government makes. The federal government spends more than $25 billion a year on agricultural subsidies.
Each time the government tables a new budget, farmers are nervous about cuts to their industry that make it harder for them to survive. They also decide what the fair price for crops are and how much commodities are traded for.
Farmers and the entire agricultural industry rely heavily on the government for their survival and success.
5. Supply and Demand
The world will soon have more than 9 billion people living on it and each of them needs to be fed. This demand for food doesn’t necessarily mean every farmer is going to have a booming business.
Many farmers don’t have the resources to meet the demand. Whether that is due to past financial hardships, lack of qualified labor, or poor yield from recent crops, farmers are struggling to provide the harvest expected and needed to be successful.
Not having the equipment to be able to have sustainable growth is an issue for many farmers. The price of land is at a premium and many farmers are pressured to sell their fields so that neighboring cities can expand.
There are fewer farms operating than ever and yet more people to feed. Consumers are also demanding higher standards from food producers. This can lead to higher expenses for agriculture businesses as they attempt to meet the quality and transparency of operations being sought.
Farming practices that were more economical but less environmentally friendly are being replaced with higher quality practices that protect the environment. This transformation can be an expensive investment for farmers. One that many can’t afford to make but are unable to compete if they don’t.
The cost of living and running a farm has increased exponentially while profits in the farming industry have declined.
Agriculture Issues Affect Us All
When farmers are having a bad year because of agriculture issues that led to a bad harvest, it affects us all. That effect can last for years to come.
Connect with us today to learn how we can help you have a successful year in 2020.