Hosted annually by Bayer CropScience, the AgVocacy Forum at the Commodity Classic show brings together agricultural market suppliers and retailers from all over the country to discuss the upcoming growing season. Again this year, the focus for farmers is on opportunities to cut costs and increase profits. Nevertheless, the ag markets forecast is already looking slim due to ongoing trade decisions.
With feedback from farmers in Nebraska and New Mexico, there appears to be a nationwide disappointment in the United States’ decision to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and other crop-related trade deals. Suggestions to overcome these economic concerns include focusing on the growth of specialty crops. However, this idea may not be sustainable with the lengthy anticipation for current and new trade markets to reopen.
Additional forum discussions include the cost analysis of manual labor vs. machine operating practices. There is a common understanding amongst suppliers for ag markets that one machine could easily replace a fleet of workers. Again, the need to protect handpicked crops continues to outweigh this mindset. Therefore, the decision to staff humans over machines continues to cost farmers more than ever.
National economic decisions and labor management practices are just two of the major issues facing agricultural market suppliers and retailers this growing season. For a full recap of the 2017 AgVocacy Forum, read the CropLife.com article.