The leaders of giant corporations have to have great vision to be able to lead these companies in the right direction.
If you could talk with the president of Monsanto or DuPont, what would you ask him, specifically about the next 5 years?
I need to come up with something intelligent, they don't want any venting/bitching/whining.
Can some of you guys help me out?"
I thought this was a well thought out reply:
"The OP's question has more facets than a diamond.
The big ag companies are fighting a many headed monster (along with us) of a Niagara Falls of regulations coming out of state and federal governments.
They are also being demonized over GMO crops, pesticides, herbicides, etc. etc.
Their customer base is us and we are changing rapidly and radically.
The small family farmer is dwindling and is being replaced by larger operators (our local BTO's - the 6000 to 40000 acre guys).
The BTO is easier to deal with when he replaces a dozens of pig headed farmers. But he also is a bigger customer and it hurts more when they lose him to the competition.
While the BTO is being replaced by the medium size corporation that is more vertically integrated - such as owning the local elevator and the machinery dealerships, etc. These guys have real clout and the ag corporations dealing with them have to sharpen their pencils to a fine point to get the business.
Where I see this going is where it has already gone in a few select markets such as Pineapple where a few corporations own most of the business from the land to processing to shipping to the can on the supermarket shelf - think DOLE, etc.
We have that locally where a single family of 3 brothers went from general farming 30 years ago, then added on growing pickles for a local pickle plant, then to doing business with a national pickle company, then got into fermenting tanks and shipping the fermented pickles to the national company, and now have an integrated operation from growing to fermenting to processing to canning and finally to marketing their pickles to buyers who put their own labels on the cans.
I see greater integration of grain farming coming here in NA where corporations will own large tracts of farming land and operate like a business as opposed to the family farm. You will hire on as the janitor sweeping the shop and move up through the ranks - loading trucks, cleaning machines, running the grain wagon tractor, then tillage, then combining, then supervision, etc. etc. No different than a factory.
The losers in the end will be the family farms - who cannot acquire the capital to expand from a few hundreds of acres, to thousands of acres, to tens of thousands of acres, to owning the storage and shipping and marketing facilities for their grain."
DuPont did call me today. We had a very good chat and they took good notes, they repeated the gist of what I thought.
What will we see in agriculture in the next five years?