John Harnett, Founder and CEO of accelerator THRIVE, joined the Virtual Precision Agriculture Conference from Silicon Valley in California. He explained that the worlds of agriculture, technology and innovation were not all naturally connecting together, the industry was very fragmented, which is why he created Thrive.
Hartnett believes controlled environments or vertical farming will be an important area for agriculture in the future, he does not believe it will replace traditional farming, but feels that it will likely incrementally solve some agriculture problems in the future. Solving labor issues in some cases.
Why is there an ag tech revolution happening? Hartnett says because, “We must produce more with less.” Also, he says there are greater challenges to the ag community: water, cost of labor, arable land shortages, feed safety issues. “All are significant issues the industry is facing.”
According to Harnett, another important factor is changing demographics. 50% of the global population is Generation Y and Z; where 42 % of that demographic say they will stop relationships with business that negatively impact the environment. They are very aware of health and nutrition, and their top concern is climate and the environment.
Harnett says consumers want to know where their food is coming from, they are looking for trust, quality, health, and sustainability when they make their food purchases.
Read more at Farms.com (Denise Faguy)