The agribusiness sector includes a wide array of players including livestock and meat producers, farmers, egg producers, dairy farmers, timber producers, tobacco companies, food manufacturers, and retail stores, to name a few.
Agribusiness is the planet’s oldest, largest, and most important sector. It is the business that enables the world to grow, trade, and feed everyone, utilizing the planet’s finite resources. Agribusiness now employs half the world’s workforce, half the world’s assets, and close to half of contemporary consumer economy. The sector drives economic development, food security, trade, nutrition, natural resources, animal diversity, genetics, and economic, social and environmental priorities.
Agriculture, food, and related industries contributed roughly $1.264 trillion to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021, a 5.4-percent share. The output of America’s farms contributed $164.7 billion of this sum—about 0.7 percent of U.S. GDP. The overall contribution of agriculture to GDP is larger than 0.7 percent because sectors related to agriculture rely on agricultural inputs in order to contribute added value to the economy.
n 2021, 21.1 million full- and part-time jobs were related to the agricultural and food sectors—10.5 percent of total U.S. employment. Direct on-farm employment accounted for about 2.6 million of these jobs, or 1.3 percent of U.S. employment. Employment in agriculture- and food-related industries supported another 18.5 million jobs. Of this, food services, eating and drinking places accounted for the largest share—11.8 million jobs—and food/beverage stores supported 3.3 million jobs. The remaining agriculture-related industries together added another 3.4 million jobs.
The future of agribusiness is expected to be shaped by several key trends.
- Sustainable and regenerative practices: There is a growing emphasis on sustainable and regenerative agriculture practices that prioritize environmental stewardship, soil health, and biodiversity conservation. This includes the adoption of precision agriculture technologies, organic farming methods, and the reduction of chemical inputs.
- Digitalization and precision agriculture: The integration of digital technologies, data analytics, and precision agriculture techniques is revolutionizing the industry. Farmers are increasingly using sensors, drones, and satellite imagery to monitor crops, optimize irrigation, and apply fertilizers and pesticides more efficiently. This trend is expected to continue, leading to increased productivity and resource optimization.
- Vertical farming and indoor agriculture: With the increasing global population and limited arable land, there is a growing interest in vertical farming and indoor agriculture. These methods allow for year-round production in controlled environments, reducing the reliance on traditional outdoor farming and enabling the cultivation of crops in urban areas.
- Plant-based alternatives and alternative proteins: The rising demand for plant-based diets and concerns over the environmental impact of animal agriculture are driving the growth of plant-based alternatives and alternative proteins. This trend presents opportunities for agribusinesses to diversify their product offerings and cater to changing consumer preferences.
- Supply chain transparency and traceability: Consumers are increasingly demanding transparency and traceability in the food supply chain. Agribusinesses are adopting technologies such as blockchain to provide verifiable information about the origin, production methods, and quality of agricultural products. This trend is expected to continue as consumers become more conscious of food safety, sustainability, and ethical sourcing.
It is important to note that these trends are subject to various factors such as technological advancements, consumer preferences, regulatory frameworks, and global economic conditions. Agribusinesses that adapt to these trends and embrace innovation are likely to thrive in the future.
Allen Austin’s agribusiness executive search firm roots are centered in consumer products and agribusiness. In our earliest years, our clients included American Rice, Riviana Foods, Awrey Bakeries, Bunge Foods, C&M Meats, IBP Foods, Maple Leaf Bakeries, Country Fresh, Interstate Brands, Imperial Sugar, New World Pasta Co., Lund Food Holdings, Portuguese Baking Co., Superior Farms, Tetley U.S.A., Tyson Foods, Veryfine Products, Yve’s Veggie Cuisine and many more.