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FOOD, WATER, AND AGRIBUSINESS

2015 Platform Brief
Oliver Wright

We know in the future we’ll have more mouths to feed—around 9 billion by 2050. Essentially, we can cover the nutritional needs of 9 billion people today if they eat just what they need—around 1,800 calories per day. But if they all have the Western diet, which is about 3,500 calories per day, we are talking about the needs of 17.5 billion people. That changes the picture.

  • Technology will work dramatic efficiencies and drive profitability up and down the food and agribusiness value chain, from real time, on-the-pasture medical diagnostics and individual cattle blood work via retinal scanning smartphones, to regional, cloud-sourced data sharing and centralization, to ubiquitous herd monitoring and data sharing across geographically-dispersed farms.
  • Ranchers throughout a region will be able to monitor the health of their herds through ubiquitous computing that feeds constant data through multiple devices, dramatically enhancing predictive capabilities for infectious disease outbreak and prevention.

Vanquish’s own Rich Kottmeyer, one of the world’s foremost authorities on food, beverage, and agribusiness, has this to say on the future challenges and opportunities in agriculture:

To look at agriculture in 2025, you have to think about what the world will look like, since agriculture is fundamentally a global business. We are in the process of transitioning from a regional agricultural consumption model to a global model. The middle class is growing and for the first time, many have choices in what they eat and the variety available. As a result, agriculture is shifting away from crop commoditization and moving toward more of a value-added system. Farmers also have choices. You can grow a commodity, which will earn you a commodity price. That is good today, but it might not be tomorrow. Or you can be a little bit more of a value-added player, without sacrificing basic risk management. For example, there are different soybean types and varieties, but we don’t sell them that way. If you segment your product, you can sell it differently and have greater margin potential. These two management options (large, consolidated and efficient or small, value-added and contract-tied) can both flourish—even on the same farm.

 

Two distinct consumer groups will dominate agricultural trends going forward. One is in the emerging countries, particularly China. As people enter the middle class, they change their diets. They used to have mainly rice, and now they want meat, fish, fruits and vegetables. When a country of more than 1.5 billion people consumes more meat, it translates to huge volumes. China’s increased demand for more protein will change the entire food scape—not only in animal production, but also the feedstocks required to raise them.

The second group is the developed countries. In these countries, people eat more food than they need and are starting to fear the related health effects, expressed in Syndrome X, Type II Diabetes, Obesity. These individuals worry about food safety and are uncertain about how their food is produced. They want to have confidence in the food system and to know that what they eat will not harm them. Technology will empower ranchers to provide this information and comfort directly to consumers.

Satellite, drone, and smart phone data collection from the herd, pasture, feed, environment, climate, farm operations, machinery, , cloud shared storage, real time computational and predictive analysis, with prospective and prescriptive big data informatics improving quality control, huge productivity increases, and profit margins. This level of data access will only help farmers be more sustainable, environmentally responsible and transparent. Farmers will be better producers while also answering consumers’ concerns.

 

PLATFORM DEAL TEAM

Oliver Wright

Rich Kottmeyer Esq.

Lloyd Le Page

Mary L.