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Farming in 2025: Corn Will Still Be King!

February 27, 2013
By: Jeanne Bernick, Top Producer Editor
corn field sunset
  

Big changes are coming to the family farm over the next 12 years as the world grows more interconnected, computer management tools grow more useful, and farmers get much closer to the consumer. One thing remains the same: corn will be king when it comes to crops grown in the U.S.

Rich Kottmeyer, senior executive and global agriculture and food production leader, Accenture, presented a revealing look at what farming might look like in 2025 based on trends his company already sees today. Kottmeyer spoke at the Bayer CropScience Ag Issues Forum in Orlando, Fla.

Corn will be the top crop raised in 2025," Kottmeyer says. "If you can get 200 bu. an acre corn and 15,000 plants in an acre….you simply can’t beat corn. Behind that is soybeans. So it hasn’t changed much."

He predicted a future in which Europe will accept GMOs. They will see that it benefits the consumer in the form of lower food prices. This will also be an issue of sustainability.

"By 2050, more than half of the world will be in the middle class who aren’t there today," says Kottmeyer. "Children are likely to grow up in a world where systemic poverty is receding. These days poverty is more likely to be about political structure and cultural issues versus supply."

The world is increasingly moving from food security to food quality. In 2025, people are talking about convenience, quality, variety and availability, 24/7. "We have to transform agriculture from a commodity to value-added product. We have to change," he says.

Kottmeyer thinks the U.S. will continue to under-invest in infrastructure, building for today, rather than tomorrow. The U.S. economy won’t be as big as China’s, and India’s will be nearly as big, he adds. Also, there will be a far bigger middle class population, but the poor will find it even harder to buy food, because food prices will continue rising.

At the farm level, he says farmers, unwilling to get their kids to help farm, will look to the inner city for farmhands. The future farm, he says, will be much more racial integrated.

Data will become a marketable commodity, Kottmeyer predicts. Data will become a profit center for the producer. There will be a revolution in how farmers use information. Farm managers will enjoy simple information tools based on complicated data bases. "We’ll have satellites in the sky, sensors in the ground, and economic models that will calculate a return on investment for any farm decision.

Kottmeyer warns that data can’t do it alone – agriculture must find the next revolution in productivity.

"We need a revolution," he says. "It must be a science-based revolution."

 

Hear more thoughts from Kottmeyer on agriculture's future:


 

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Read more coverage from the 2013 Commodity Classic and associated events.


 

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COMMENTS (4 Comments)

K&KCATTLE - SD
The way that 4X4 tractors and tillage equipment is selling around the globe I don't think Mr. Kottmeyer is looking far enough to make a valid assumption. I'll bet him that by 2020 we are seeing a big correction in the corn markets.
8:11 AM Mar 5th
 
Matthew - Lake Mills, IA
First of all people have to want to work to be put in the workforce. It's too easy not too work! Not necessarily by choice but by modern efficencies.It would be nice to see more family farms keep going or kids coming back to farm. As for food, there has always been food, there will always be food. It's a matter of getting it where it needs to be or educating others on how to grow it. This world has become flat and its amazing how we can buy and trade wordwide. Other nations are becoming players in the Ag marketplace, which didnt exist 20 years ago. The high value on our row crops has certainly helped that and will continue in the future.
10:07 PM Feb 28th
 
Matthew - Lake Mills, IA
First of all people have to want to work to be put in the workforce. It's too easy not too work! Not necessarily by choice but by modern efficencies.It would be nice to see more family farms keep going or kids coming back to farm. As for food, there has always been food, there will always be food. It's a matter of getting it where it needs to be or educating others on how to grow it. This world has become flat and its amazing how we can buy and trade wordwide. Other nations are becoming players in the Ag marketplace, which didnt exist 20 years ago. The high value on our row crops has certainly helped that and will continue in the future.
10:07 PM Feb 28th
 
TOM - KENNEWICK, WA
This future workforce you think will somehow happen has not happened since LBJ made it easy to get welfare.

This leads me to believe the rest of your stuff is a bit suspect; I mean if you don't even know how a worker who can put in 16-24 hour days during harvest, if you don't understand how such men are raised then you don't get human nature.

Also not all things continue in a nice trend line, actually trends often reverse, so while yes people are becoming pickier eaters, every year there is also more average demand for food, not because of high birth rates but because of slower death rates and increased incomes.

I would actually predict more high-tech automated cultivators and such things to combat the limits of existing chemistry which our weeds are beginning to resist.
9:47 PM Feb 27th
 



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