Exploring Resilience in Agriculture

Farm Foundation’s Round Table program gathered in Florida on January 12 to 14, 2022, to explore resilience in our food and agricultural system through different lenses—from supply chains, capital markets, water and environmental issues, to policy and trade. Twice per year, Fellows gather at the invitation-only Round Table to discuss important trends and issues in an off-the-record environment.

Here are a few of the key themes that emerged:

  • Conservation and agricultural organizations are working together more now than ever before to advance shared goals, such as soil health.
  • Supply chain challenges will persist. Labor shortages will continue to cause pressures due to underlying age and demographic shifts, especially of truckers. One potential solution discussed is lowering the age for truckers and technicians.
  • Trade challenges with China will likely remain in the coming years. Speakers did not think internal US politics were as much of the challenge as US/China relations more broadly.
  • Florida agriculture is diverse and complex. Participants spent time touring the Florida Everglades agricultural area, from sugar cane to fruits and vegetables, and learned of the many pressures on it, including ongoing development and water management.

Speakers and participants discussed possible solutions to build and retain resilience into the future. Most solutions included a combination of collaboration—across organizations, stakeholders, sectors, and countries. Technology solutions also will play a role in resilience, with robotics and AI highlighted.

Round Table Fellows take the insights shared at the meeting back home to integrate into their own organizations. In addition, Farm Foundation continues to hone the ideas from the “think tank” idea generation aspect of the meeting into its “do tank” model accelerating practical solutions for agriculture.  Reach out if you would like to collaborate on solutions as we work to build and maintain resilience in the food and agricultural system. Our next Round Table meeting will take place in June 2022 in Boise, Idaho.

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