According to the two companies, farm operators see the potential for improvement and are optimistic about the future, but often express frustration at not knowing where to turn to for help. Confounding this is the sentiment from farmers that many consumers, and particularly local governments, lack clarity around the benefits of local & controlled environment farming. In the report, Autogrow and Agritecture paint a clearer picture of the global CEA industry by identifying important trends and contextualizing them for a wider audience.
The Global CEA Census ran from June 4 to July 22, 2019, asking growers around the world a total of 45 questions. It was promoted primarily through both companies’ social media channels and with the help of various industry media partners, including AgFunder. One respondent won a free trip to NYC AgTech Week in September as part of the Census promotion.
Major takeaways highlighted by Autogrow and Agritecture include:
- Controlled environment agriculture has become a truly global industry. Two-thirds of respondents came from outside the U.S., and 30% were from developing parts of the world.
- Controlled environment farms are diversifying by expanding their crop choices far beyond leafy greens and herbs.
- While the average age of traditional farmers continues to climb, CEA defies the trend by attracting younger professionals to the agriculture industry.
- CEA is experiencing an entrepreneurial boom of new entrants. Nearly half of all farms started in 2019 had founders with no prior experience in agriculture.
The report dives into additional demographic patterns, as well as growing methods; facility types; marketing strategies; challenges to growth; future outlook by farmers; and more. The companies look forward to making the survey an annual occurrence with increased participation, particularly amongst greenhouse growers.
The report is available free for download at: www.agritecture.com/census