Magazine article Business Perspectives

Perspectives of Agriculture and the Mid-South Economy

Magazine article Business Perspectives

Perspectives of Agriculture and the Mid-South Economy

Article excerpt

The economic outlook for Memphis and the MidSouth is directly associated with the outlook for agriculture and agribusiness in this area. Because agriculture and agribusiness are such a huge part of our economy, our outlook is influenced by the changes talking place in the industry. Throughout the history of agriculture, a continuous process of change has influenced the viability of the industry. A description of the history of the industry would include the following terms: privatization, enclosure, displacement, exploration, modernization, fertilization, crop rotation, incorporation, standardization, selective breeding, environmental protection, irrigation, soil testing, hybridization, consolidation, scientific management, genetic engineering, globalization, computerization, commodity trading, satellite mapping and weather forecasting, bio-engineered crops, electronic stockyards, and currency speculation. Is it any wonder that traditional family farms are an endangered species?

From nearly 50.0 percent of the population in 1990, the work force committed to agriculture has fallen to less than 2.0 percent. The continued decline in family farms and the displacement of farm families is as sure a long-run process as the continued progress being made in scientific and technical farming.

But, farming is only the production side of agriculture. Clearly, numerous Mid-South industries add value in the marketing, distribution, financing, and manufacturing processes essential to move farm products to the consumer. …

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