Despite a prolonged slump in the price of many agricultural commodities on a global scale, long-term economic prospects in the agricultural sector are often considered to be positive. Many who express optimism about agriculture’s long-term future cite expectations of steady growth in global populations and incomes as the overarching support for growth in the agricultural sector. However, agricultural production has increased significantly in recent years, even as commodity prices have remained suppressed, costs have remained elevated, and profit opportunities have remained limited or fleeting. Across the world, agricultural producers and businesses have sought to adapt to the prolonged downturn in agricultural prices, but at the same time position themselves for longer-term opportunities that might warrant further investment.
The 2019 Agricultural Symposium, “Exploring Agriculture’s Path to the Long-Term” discussed the linkage between current conditions in agricultural markets and longer-term prospects. On the first day of the symposium, speakers described the factors that are driving or constraining growth in the current agricultural cycle and how they may differ in the long-term. On the second day, speakers discussed how the agricultural sector might transition toward a more profitable long-term future and the threats and opportunities that might emerge along the way.