The Ag & Food Studio at Rally represents companies innovating across food, animal health, plant science, AgTech and agriculture to create an efficient, sustainable food system while preserving natural resources from the farm to the kitchen table. The Ag & Food industry is changing the way we grow and produce food.
It will come as no surprise that the ag and food industry is one of the largest in the world with an estimated value of over $8T. Sustainability and environmental stewardship are among the top two focuses of the industry given the global resource scarcity, environmental impact, consumer demand, and the economic benefits it provides. The ag and food industry has seen significant growth in venture capital investment in recent years as more VCs look to startups to develop new solutions that address climate change, food waste, and enable more efficient production methods.
Advancements, including precision agriculture and drones, enable farmers to manage their crops and reduce waste. New plant-based protein alternatives give some consumers options for more sustainable and ethical food choices. New technologies within the industry center around using data and technology to create a more efficient and sustainable food system. Examples of this include using blockchain technology to track food from farm to table and vertical farming is a new way to grow crops in urban areas.
The roots of our development of agriculture started around 12,000 years ago. The impact of technology on agriculture has changed it almost beyond recognition since then, allowing us to feed the more than 7 billion people who rely on agriculture for their food today.
Even from some of the earliest examples, humans have come up with new farming methods, and then shared their knowledge with others. Modern agricultural technology conferences are great catalysts for innovation and collaboration that continue to revolutionize the future of agriculture technology.
We’ll begin our deep dive into the world of AgTech conferences by answering questions like:
Once we’ve laid this groundwork, we’ll move on to some specifics about the modern AgTech industry, some of the most relevant conferences, and why a cross-sector technology innovation conference is so important to modern farming technology in the future.
The earliest technology in agriculture examples include axes to clear growing spaces, digging sticks to break up soil, and jars for storing the harvest. From there, a spate of technological advances happened that are still relevant in modern agricultural engineering. For example:
As you can see, the adoption of new technology in agriculture is nearly as old as agriculture itself. New technologies have increased our capacity to produce food to feed the growing human population but have also introduced new concerns.
We’ve come a mind bogglingly long way already with our technological advances in agriculture, but there are even more exciting improvements on the horizon. For example, at the World Government Summit in 2018, Agriculture 4.0: The future of farming technology was introduced. This concept is based on the idea that smart systems are the next wave of developments in cultivation. For example, farmers will use sensors and information technology to target the application of nutrients, water, and pest control instead of applying it broadly. This allows food production to be more environmentally sustainable and more efficient.
There are plenty of examples of these breakthroughs already being used in food production at a limited scale. Examples include:
The future of AgTech will see these types of systems and practices becoming much more widespread. This will allow for the increased food production we need to feed the expanding human population.
Widespread innovative use of technology in agriculture is already happening across the industry. Some of the latest technological advances include:
Food and agriculture are intricately intertwined, so there is a blurry line between the terms like agritech, foodtech, and the food industry. Broadly speaking, the food industry is the entire network of businesses needed to grow, distribute, and sell most of the food eaten by the people of the world.
So what is the agritech industry and is it different from the food industry? Because the food industry covers such a broad range of businesses, it is often broken down into “before the farm gate” which is the agricultural side, and “after the farm gate” which is the processing, distribution, and selling side. Agritech or AgTech refers to the technology used before the farm gate, while foodtech is the technology used to get the food from the farm gate to the table.
Basically, every element of the food system is experiencing rapid technological innovation. Let’s look at some recent advancements regarding different steps food goes through after it leaves the farm until it ends up on your plate.
The current estimated global AgTech industry is almost $22 billion in 2023, and it is projected to grow to over $44 billion by 2030. North America currently makes up about $9 billion of the total AgTech market, which is more than twice the size of any other regional market. In the US in particular, agriculture contributed “5.4 percent to U.S. gross domestic product and provided 10.5 percent of U.S. employment; Americans’ expenditures on food amount to 12 percent of household budgets on average” according to the USDA.
Because of the extreme importance of agriculture in feeding the people of earth, you could even argue that it is one of the biggest and most important industries we have. As the human population continues to expand and the climate crisis changes environmental conditions, technological advances in agriculture will play an increasingly large role in the coming decades.
The sheer size of the AgTech industry is part of the reason that conferences play such an important role. Although many companies are big players leading innovations within certain sectors, conferences allow for trading ideas and collaborations between sectors in the larger AgTech and FoodTech industries. There are some great conferences out there that have been exploring these benefits for years already.
Conferences like those mentioned above are hugely beneficial for sharing ideas across technologies in agricultural and food sciences to improve innovation and collaboration. But what if you could harness this innovation from technology in other industries as well? That’s the whole idea behind Rally, a cross-sectional technology conference that aims to connect software, healthcare, hardtech, sportstech, and entrepreneurship innovators in one place.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of traditional conferences, and how cross-sectional collaboration takes them to the next level.
We think conferences are a hugely important part of thought leadership and innovation in every field. That’s why we’ve created Rally, the largest global cross-sector innovation conference anywhere. Rally aims to create interconnection between tech leaders in diverse fields to increase technology innovations everywhere. We’re the perfect place for entrepreneurs, business leaders, universities, and investors to grow and learn together. Rally features meetups, demos, startup spotlights, keynote speakers, workshops and networking events to maximize your conference experience. Don’t miss the best three days in tech innovation. Register for Rally in Indianapolis, IN on August 29-31, 2023.