Why is there a trend towards agribusiness?
When a farm is run like a large industrial business they are known as an agribusiness. They are large-scale, money-intensive commercial activities. This has led to the size of farms increasing significantly by:
- increasing field sizes
- removing hedgerows
- increased mechanisation (more machinery)
- combining small family farms
- using hi-tech solutions, improved seeds and greater use of pesticides and fertilisers
Crop Irrigation using large-scale technology
Many large agribusinesses now own processing factories, transport and shops where the produce is sold. This is known as ‘farm to fork’. Supermarkets and food-processing companies buy crops before they are even planted.
Agribusiness has had a negative impact on the environment through the increased used of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Also, as farms have become more mechanised there has been a decline in agricultural employment as fewer people are needed to work on farms. Also, smaller family farms struggle to compete with large farms.
Agribusiness faces risks every growing season. From the weather to insect infestations to unexpected livestock death from disease, there are numerous influences that can shape profits. Even simple climate changes, like having a little too much rain, can create risk.
The positives of agribusiness include more food security and cheaper prices for consumers as overheads are lower. Research and development in modern agricultural practices, including the use of technology, is providing jobs to skilled workers.