Last week, Aimpoint Research had the opportunity to participate and present at the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) Annual Meeting. NCFC’s mission is to advance the business and policy interests of America’s cooperatives and other farmer-owned enterprises, and Aimpoint Research is proud to be one of their partners.

NCFC celebrated their 90th Annual Meeting in February. Their longevity is a testament to organization’s forward-looking vision, and that same forward-looking theme was the undercurrent of the speakers and presentations throughout the week.

Brett Sciotto, CEO and President of Aimpoint Research, led multiple sessions throughout the conference focusing on ag trends disrupting the industry and our landmark Farmer of the Future study. We even facilitated an on-stage focus group with consumer panelists sharing their thoughts on emerging technologies in agriculture and food. Here are some of the highlights from our time on the agenda:

1. Ag Trends: An Industry in Transition

At a time when food and ag systems are evolving quickly, it’s critical to understand the trends and disruptors taking hold today. At the NCFC Annual Meeting, Brett Sciotto revealed 9 forces significantly transforming the ag industry.

“Our Ag Trends presentation is all about an industry in transition. From consolidation to technology to consumer demands, we’re entering a transformative period that is only accelerating. As industry leaders, we need to look far enough on the horizon to determine how we will serve a new, emerging class of farmers, and determine where our place will be in an evolving food system,” shared Brett Sciotto.

For a detailed overview of the top 6 trends, see our recent article in AgWeek, “Six trends shaping the future of farming and ranching.”

2. Farmer of the Future Speech

During the general session, Brett Sciotto also unveiled landmark insights from Aimpoint Research’s Farmer of the Future study to 500+ NCFC Annual Meeting attendees.

Aimpoint Research, along with a collaborative group of clients and ag leaders, set out to answer two very important questions with the Farmer of the Future study- Who are the farmers of the future, and what will they require of us?

Through extensive psychographic segmentation, the Farmer of the Future speech revealed the psychology of the farmers who are most likely to lead the industry in 2040, as well as the internal and external factors impacting their success. As featured in Agri-Pulses’s “Farm and Food in 2040” series, we shared the five farmer profiles that exist today and the characteristics that set them apart.

The Farmer of the Future study goes beyond understanding the farmer profiles that currently exist. Through wargaming exercises, we were able to predict the conditions most likely to define agriculture in the future, and in turn, match the farmer segments with the traits needed to successfully navigate those industry shifts.

“We have to acknowledge as an industry that we are going to serve a bifurcated market. We are going to have large, sophisticated vertically-integrated operations run by high business IQ farmers and we are also going to have small, direct-to-consumer operations serving their niche.The concept of one-size-fits-all is fading in farm channels. The farms of the future will be diverse, have different needs and will look to their vendors and suppliers to provide tailored solutions and to be constantly innovating,” said Brett Sciotto.

3. Consumer Panel

We brought together a cross section of everyday consumers for an on-stage focus group to discuss their views on food choices and emerging technologies in the food system. We heard their viewpoints on everything from GMO’s to CRISPR to cultured meat and plant-based proteins.

While opinions varied, the 6 consumers on the panel all shared a desire for more information on emerging food technologies and encouraged ag leaders in the audience to continue engaging with the public.

“We received excellent feedback from NCFC meeting attendees regarding the on-stage consumer focus group. With consumer demand at the heart of an evolving agri-food system, it’s important for industry leaders to hear directly from those impacting the change. One key takeaway from the panel is that consumers are hungry for more information about their food, and this is really an opportunity for ag and food system leaders to continue to engage,” shared Sarah Tveidt, Director for Aimpoint Research.

Overall, our presentations throughout the conference were united by the overarching themes of evolution and transformation. As the agri-food systems evolve, the institutions and organizations serving agriculture will need to evolve with them. If you are interested in learning more about Ag Trends, Farmer of the Future or having Brett Sciotto speak at your event, please send us a note. Thank you to NCFC for having us at this year’s annual meeting.