By the year 2050, U.S. growers will need to reach an impressive level of food production to help feed a growing world population. Fewer in number, they will operate multifaceted businesses with stunning new technology to increase efficiency on farms.
These predictions come from experts who study food and farming trends. Here’s a look at what they think life on the farm will look like in 33 years.
Food Demand Increases
The two big drivers of food demand—population and income—are on the rise. The world’s population is expected to reach 9.1 billion people in 2050, up from 7.4 billion in 2016. Farmers globally must increase food production 70 percent compared to 2007 levels to meet the needs of the larger population, according to a report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.1
Also driving food demand is an increase in global income levels, especially those in developing countries. As a result, these countries will be able to expand diets with more protein.
“As incomes rise, consumer preference moves from wheat and grains to legumes, and then to meat, including chicken, pork and beef,” says David Widmar, Purdue University ag economist.
The 2012 ag census revealed a big shift in farmer ages that holds major implications for the future, says Widmar. For the first time, growers who are older than 65 outnumber farmers who are younger than 45. The difference is substantial, with 2.1 older growers for every farmer younger than 45.2