As the coronavirus pandemic continues to accelerate change in the farm inputs industry, especially when it comes to solving issues such as food insecurity and waste, Rabobank’s Robert Sinescu, Co-Head of Client Coverage North America Wholesale and Head of Chicago Office, gathered a panel of industry experts for a timely conversation on “Disruption and diffusion: tracking the next steps of agriculture’s evolution.” The panel was comprised of c-suite level representatives from top companies in the farm inputs space with whom Rabobank has developed important relationships.

“Farm Inputs is a key sector in the agriculture industry and a part of Rabobank’s core strategy, Banking for Food,” said Sinescu.

Three key concepts that were discussed:

1. Agricultural technologies and practices and their impact on farmer spending.
2. The changing investment landscape in agriculture, particularly with regard to start-ups.
3. The overarching role of sustainability.

In examining the farm inputs landscape, the drivers affecting farmers’ finances moving forward include seed breeding technologies, the use of biologicals (products that control pests while maintaining certified organic status or enhance plant growth) and the increase of ag-tech, such as e-commerce. Investment dollars are flowing into start-up companies that are active in these spaces. Within ag-tech, corporates are increasing allocation of resources to develop their own solutions and scaling up rapidly through their existing client base, for example. There has also been recent excitement around SPACs (special purpose acquisition companies), which are allowing select start-ups to become publicly-listed.

For the long term, however, sustainability is the most important industry change agent, fueled by regulatory framework and consumer demand. Farmers and other players on the agricultural supply chain will need to meet the needs of consumers without compromising the environment or quality of the product.

Evolving agricultural technologies have presented companies with a critical crossroads, causing leaders to refocus their growth strategies as they plot the optimal course forward and picture what North American farms will look like 30 to 40 years from now.

Rabobank will continue to provide insights on the ever-changing farm inputs industry through reports, articles, and events.

About Rabobank

Rabobank Group is a global financial services leader providing wholesale and retail banking, leasing, and real estate services in more than 40 countries worldwide. Founded over a century ago, Rabobank today is one of the world’s largest banks with over $640 billion in assets. In the Americas, Rabobank is a premier bank to the food, agribusiness and beverage industry, providing sector expertise, strategic counsel and tailored financial solutions to clients across the entire food value chain. Additional information is available on our website or on our social media platforms, including Twitter and LinkedIn.

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