Identifying Trends Reshaping the Way Food is Produced in North America

Jul 27, 2022

By Megan Tanel

Megan Tanel is president of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers

In the 1930s one American farmer could produce enough agricultural product to feed a total of four people; today each American farmer feeds more than 165 people due to a combination of machinery and improved seeds and other crop practices. Farmers are proud to not only feed their families and fellow Americans, but also to produce crops to export to the rest of the world.

America’s farmers have always met the challenges of their time. However, a global population projected to increase 2.2 billion by 2050, requiring a 70% increase in food production, without additional land or natural resources to do so, raises the bar to even greater heights. So, what do we do?

In response to the challenges on the horizon for farmers, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) recently released The Future of Food Production, a whitepaper detailing the drivers impacting how food is produced in North America. The whitepaper identifies 13 trends that are changing agriculture today, impacting farmers like you, and reshaping how food will be produced in the coming decade.

We brought together our agriculture-based members to take a hard look at the future and identify trends that are changing the industry and demands being made on today’s farmers. AEM is committed to taking an active role in examining the future of agriculture so we can help our member companies offer equipment solutions and insights to help you succeed.

From producing more with less environmental impact to advanced food traceability to help maintain consumer trust to artificial intelligence enabling insights-driven farming, the 13 trends outlined in the whitepaper define a new way of doing business that will help growers produce more with less.

The trends include:

  1. Produce more with less environmental impact
  2. Optimization of water use
  3. Increase global demand for protein
  4. Shorter food supply chain
  5. Geographic shifts in production
  6. Advanced food traceability helps maintain consumer trust
  7. Farmers adjust in response to emission regulation
  8. Efforts to decarbonize create adjacent economies
  9. Connectivity gap narrows
  10. Artificial intelligence enables insights-driven farming
  11. Resources pour into cybersecurity
  12. Farm ownership models change
  13. New business models emerge

We know soybean farmers are working hard to do the right things, not just for the next season but for the next generation. This whitepaper outlines how the agriculture industry could be reshaped over the next decade and shares a vision for opportunities to overcome challenges.

Equipment technology is pivotal to many of these trends coming to fruition. With predicted global population growth, shifting natural resources and increasing supply chain challenges, the evolution and adoption of technology will be key to meeting production demands. However, soybean and other growers need to generate more yield and at least break even from a financial standpoint. As a farmer, if you are going to change a practice or invest in a recent technology, the economic impact of that action must be part of the conversation.

Meeting tomorrow’s challenges will require a new way of thinking and in some instances, a new way of doing business. Over the past two decades, the growth in soybean and corn yields, for example, has coincided with the widespread adoption of precision agriculture technologies. As precision agriculture technologies become more widely adopted, there is potential for significant upward movement in yields and savings.

AEM members like me are here to work with growers and help them meet the demand to feed an increasing population. The new whitepaper can be viewed and downloaded from AEM’s Future of Food Production website page:

Food production and the face  of farmland ownership in America is changing, but the one constant is the American farmer, who has the ingenuity and tenacity needed to ensure a reliable food supply at home and abroad.