The Changing Shape of Agribusiness

Agribusiness (a portmanteau of “agriculture” and “business”) is an emerging term for the business sector that encompasses farming and all farming-related commercial activities. This includes every step in the process that delivers agricultural products to the market — production, processing, and distribution. In any country with land that can be worked, agribusiness is an important aspect of the local economy, as agricultural products not consumed locally can be exported, bringing more commerce to the area.

Agribusinesses have to respond to market forces as well as natural forces. Increased demand for grass-fed beef may direct ranchers to modify their feeding practices. Consumer tastes can change the mix of fruits and vegetables that a grower raises. Weather patterns or disease may limit the availability of products and drive up the cost of what does make it to market. 

However, in a global food market, local growers may end up competing with worldwide producers. This is especially true for commodities – such as corn, wheat, or soybeans – which yield similar results from a wide variety of growing environments. In these instances, it’s not the quality of the product that leads to being competitive but finding ways to innovate, such as investing in new agricultural technologies or working to optimize the fertilizing or watering process. 

Among the emerging technologies in agriculture is the use of drones. These can be simple tasks, such as visual inspection or soil/field analysis, up to advanced tasks, including irrigation, spraying, or even planting. Although safety and privacy concerns may still limit drone use in some areas, the use of technology in agricultural operations will only increase. 

And lastly, agribusiness is a term applied to a wide range of operations in scale — from large corporations to small family operations, from chemical manufacturing to agritourism. If a business has ties to food production, it can be classified as an agribusiness. 

Speaking of agribusiness, I have some incredibly exciting and impactful news that I will be sharing with you in the coming months. Check back next month so you can join me on the journey. 

This article is sponsored by Labor Solutions, and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of Central Florida Ag News or of its advertisers.

BIO: Baxter Troutman is founder and chief executive officer of Labor Solutions, a staffing company with offices in Bartow, Winter Haven, Lake Wales, Arcadia, and Plant City. You also can visit his Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch online at A cattle rancher and citrus grower who served in the Florida House of Representatives, Troutman understands the challenges and concerns of today’s farmer.

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