Forget what you know about growing?
Farmers are on the cusp of profound change. They are no longer a long way from consumers. Their methods and processes are in the spotlight.
Interestingly the future looks like it will be an amalgam of historic land husbandry and profound technological innovation.
Photo: George Hiles
Therefore, those looking to enter the food and ingredients sector, at whatever stage of production, will have many considerations to manage. They are no longer just the agricultural ‘first mile’ happening at the end of country tracks along which no one usually travelled.
In March 2021 the UK government launched the outline of a pilot around their Sustainable Farming Incentive Scheme.
They have developed 3 new schemes. These will reward land management that puts the environment at the heart of farming practices. These three schemes are:
· Sustainable Farming Incentive
· Local Nature Recovery
· Landscape Recovery
These schemes should do a lot to assist in the government’s target of reaching net zero emissions. This should be achieved by 2050. The projects will encourage farmers and any land managers to receive payment for making a contribution to:
Photo: Elijah Hiett
· clean and plentiful water
· clean air
· thriving plants and wildlife
· protection from environmental hazards
· reduction of and adaptation to climate change
· beauty, heritage and engagement with the environment
Known as ELMS these sustainable farming incentives will change the focus from yield, yield, yield, to a more careful, varied and sustainable approach to food production that might well mimic the historic ‘mixed’ approach to crops and animal husbandry.
Technology has already proved itself to be a game changer
It has enabled supply chains to be monitored at every level of production and land management. Monitoring changes that might be detrimental to the planet as a whole has become much easier. Consumers are much more demanding and aware of the provenance of their food. Legislation too is playing its part to changing attitudes and practices.
Three examples of tech solutions by Company
Meanwhile tech is playing a major part of ensuring that data shapes the future of food production. Companies like Bushel have developed technology to allow farmers and those working with producers that might be growing across the globe to communicate with mobile tech.
Bushel Mobile is an application that can be customised so ag businesses are able to share important information and documents from their accounting system straight to their producers’ mobile devices. This means that doing business with other producers is frictionless and fast. It is the next best thing to being on farms wherever they might be located. It also means that ‘paperwork’ is achieved quickly and enables partnerships to be transparent therefore trust is further improved.
Capture is another system that enables decision making to be connected to outcomes. Farmers are able to capture data in the plant-soil-weather system using an app. This means that measurements are accurate and produce powerful agronomic models to optimise decision, improve efficiencies and help to deliver sustainability. An example of what can be achieved using such technology is water sustainability. The aim was to reduce the amount of water used to irrigate crops. Using ground truth data 2.4 billion gallons of water was omitted from the beef supply chain.
This company produces technological solutions that secure sustainable sourcing, protects the environment and also improves the quality-of-life farmers experience. Based in Oslo, Norway Farmforce was launched almost a decade ago in Nairobi, Kenya. The tech enables both local and global agribusinesses to know just where their products originate and what growing methods were employed.
Farmforce’s mobile technology does away with paper-based records. This enables traceability to be achieved so much easier. What happens in fields is no longer a mystery. Management information, transparency, document compliance regarding food and sustainability standards is simplified. Communication with farmers and groups of producers is so much easier and allows supply chain visibility we could have barely imagined 25 years ago.
As consumers it is not outlandish to imagine that our food can now be tracked down to bag level traceability. Farmforce promises transparent record trials as far back as the harvest purchase. Each purchase can be recorded electronically, and receipts printed. This will be a game changer for many and a move towards a more professional and accountable method of production and sale.
These are extraordinary times and recruiting into the Food and Ingredients sector has never been more intriguing and exciting.
It means that employee classification is now far more complex as a start. In some industries almost a third of a workforce can be part time, contractors, interim and freelance. This means companies are being encouraged to consider hiring under non-traditional terms. Flexible work patterns are de rigueur, especially after so long WFH. Telecommuting is another key term and I have seen an interesting development in this field. It allowed the work environment to be shaped accordingly and this will be a characteristic of future work patterns and work forces.
One of the most important changes has been how leadership structures have changed.
Micromanagement is a thing of the past. We have seen in recent months how employees have tools and skills to just get on with projects and deliver. I am looking at candidates that are far more entrepreneurial in approach and independent in thought.
Organisations that welcome and embrace digitalisation, supported by technology innovation, will be well placed to drive their business forward.
Those that don’t are likely to be left behind and will ultimately cease to be relevant or even exist. This constant evolution requires the type of people that have different ways of thinking. They also need a new set of skills that ten years ago were literally non-existent.
Therefore, skills shortages in these areas mean that if you are looking to attract leadership talent into your business you can’t rely on advertising the fact that you are looking for someone, in the vain hope that they will end up on your doorstep. To secure the absolute best talent in to your business you need to take a thorough and proactive approach to identifying and gently coercing the top talent for your team. I can certainly help. Do give me a call or click this link https://my.timetrade.com/book/DXSTN to arrange a brief meeting today.