Home » Agribusiness: Growing Consumer Interest in Food Sourcing Generates Optimism Among Farmers

Agribusiness: Growing Consumer Interest in Food Sourcing Generates Optimism Among Farmers

By Matthew Moore

Trends for farm operators are mostly moving in the right directions. Crops have been healthy and so have prices. Consumers are increasingly interested in the quality and sourcing of what they eat, which is of benefit to Kentucky producers and processors. As in most other economic sectors, there are concerns about enough labor to meet demand. Meanwhile, tight supply chains and escalating costs mean individual farm operators and large agribusiness companies alike will spend more time making sure they will have access to the raw materials and inputs they need to produce their crops and products. Agriculture is paying increasing attention also to the ecological and environmental benefit it can create.

“Most Kentucky farms had a successful 2021, with nice harvests, good prices and amplified interest in locally grown products. We saw our value-added manufacturing sector grow with new investments in small meat processors, adding jobs and building out our supply chain. Escalating input costs will inevitably cut into farmer profits and increasing transportation costs will be passed onto consumers. Despite the last two years and the associated turmoil, I’m optimistic about the upcoming year and our business community’s entrepreneurial spirit. With widespread vaccine access, available at-home testing, and new therapeutics on the way, I hope reasonable heads prevail and we can put the pandemic behind us and get back to growing jobs and attracting people to fill them.”

Ryan Quarles Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Agriculture

“From our standpoint in more than 120 countries, Alltech expects the COVID context to improve in 2022, with the potential exception being the U.S., where the vaccination rate is below what is needed. Inflation will continue. Whether the Fed feathers the pedal or deploys an emergency brake, we see additional costs in 2022 throughout the entire chain. Alltech will focus on managing raw-material costs and availability. Alltech’s capital spending will be up slightly as we catch up on COVID- and supply chain-related delays. Expect supply chain challenges to persist. Prioritization of auto manufacturing may lead to unavailability of equipment for other manufacturing. A continued labor shortage will be a factor in 2022. Within our business, there is reason for optimism. These past two years have underscored the importance of the food system, and we believe we are on the cusp of a new era within the agri-food sector. Agriculture has the greatest potential to positively impact the future of our planet. Our customers and our industry look to Alltech to help with the transition toward more mainstream utilization of regenerative agriculture and sustainable practices. New technologies, improved farm management practices and collaboration can make agriculture climate neutral and even induce cooling on the planet. A more holistic understanding of sustainability is recognizing the importance of nutrition for all, the viability of the rural economy and the undervalued impact of agriculture on biodiversity, soil and adjacent industries.”

Mark Lyons President/Chairman, Alltech