Think, Talk, Act: Agriculture Is Filled With Brilliant Thinkers With Diverse Backgrounds

The news from growers in California and other western states is pretty grim right now. 

According to reports in The Wall Street Journal, persistent high temperatures coupled with chronic drought are taking a toll on a variety of crops from lettuce to strawberries and many other fruits and vegetables, along with rice. Heat-stressed plants are more prone to diseases that damage or kill them. That means grocers are getting less produce from growers, and they’re paying more for what they do get. Costs are passed on to consumers, which drives up food prices. 

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The reduced output from California and the West is forcing grocers and others to look for alternative sources for produce, including states such as Florida, New Jersey, and Ohio, as well as outside the U.S. to Canada and Peru. 

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Meanwhile, California’s rice farmers are also getting hit hard. The USDA says 285,000 acres of rice were planted this spring in California— a 30% reduction from last year and the lowest since the 1950s. Rice farmers have generally been able to get the water they need considering they hold some of California’s most senior water rights. But this year was different. Many received much less water than they were entitled to, leaving many no choice but to opt out of growing rice this year.  

The impact is not limited to growers in the West. Most every kind of agriculture-related business is experiencing the effects of changes in the environment as well as economic changes, supply and demand changes, labor, and more. No one can dispute the serious challenges facing agriculture. It really is going to take the best and brightest to manage what qualifies as an existential threat and turn it into an opportunity for agriculture to adapt and move forward in a new way. 

The agriculture industry is filled with brilliant thinkers representing a diversity of backgrounds. 

At the end of October, CropLife Media Group is convening some of them in Kansas City, MO, for the inaugural PACE Executive Forum, where there will be plenty of discussion on what has to change in order for agriculture to meet the demands of the future. Taking action is the final step. And the time to act is more urgent than it’s ever been. 

Let’s get growing.  

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