Produce is a large part of the food production industry, valued at over $60 billion in 2021 and expected to grow at a rate of 5 percent in the next eight years. Consumers continue to look for healthier options and are willing to pay more for them at the grocery store and farmer’s market. However, the effects of climate change are rampant across the industry – leaving many wondering growers wondering what their next right step truly looks like.
For context, the demand for fresh produce spiked during the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic, but the market faced significant challenges with supply chain constraints and a shortage of essential produce for consumers. It wasn’t uncommon to see bare supermarket shelves in early 2020. However, the produce market has since recovered and the supply chain is back to where it was pre-pandemic.
Today, a new challenge has emerged for produce growers. Climate change is starting to affect the produce industry, forcing growers to implement change management methods to find low-impact ways to support their crops.
Below, we discuss several climate change management methods for produce growers – and explore why you should consider implementing strategic environmental impact management methods in your business.
What common environmental impact strategies are available to food growers?
Below is a summary of the most common environmental impact strategies used by growers and producers across the supply chain:
Renewable energy strategies
Using renewable energy is one of the best ways produce growers can fight climate change and move away from relying on fossil fuels. Wind turbines and solar panels are renewable energy production methods that reduce your footprint and minimize the use of harmful pesticides for farming and the transportation of crops.
Irrigation management machinery
In the evolving world of growing produce, an efficient irrigation management system is essential for any farm – whether your area is experiencing years with rain periods or droughts. Conserving water also helps to preserve natural resources, avoid soil erosion, and allows you to produce healthier crops year-round.
Produce growers can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions with various irrigation management methods, such as drip irrigation and dry farming. Other new methods of irrigation management allow farmers to control their water usage throughout the life cycle of their crops. Live updates on water usage and the ability to enable or disable the system remotely are features of smart irrigation technology.
Weather advisory systems
Local weather patterns play a crucial role in the lifecycle of your crops, but over 300 million farmers don’t have access to basic technology that informs them of local weather patterns.
Weather advisory systems are becoming more common in developed nations where government organizations build these systems to provide farmers with reliable information on local weather patterns.
Apps to share resources within the growing community
Produce growers are now realizing the impact that community effort has on ESG and their bottom line. They can come together and share their resources as a method of climate change management.
The emergence of several crowdsourcing apps built to combat the effects of climate change aims to facilitate this sharing of resources by allowing farmers to rent out their tractors to others at a lower rate than what it would cost to buy a tractor themselves.
These apps help reduce the time farmers spend maintaining their equipment and allow them to focus on growing the best produce for their customers.
Drones and satellites
Drones and satellites are relatively new ways farmers can use to improve their harvests in areas affected by climate change and have grown more popular over the past two decades. Produce growers use drones and satellites to find the best places to plant their crops to help monitor water use and limit the number of airborne pests.
Digital food management tools
New and emerging startups are beginning to digitize and automate the digital food management process, making the lives of produce growers much easier.
These solutions help to optimize manufacturing and supply chain processes with customer behavior tracking and forecasting change based on consumer preferences.
Food producers use digital food management tools to predict and prepare for disruptions and adapt to new market requirements.
Transparency and safety strategies
Staying compliant with local laws and regulations throughout the production process is another way that you can manage climate change as a produce grower.
Recent breakthroughs in blockchain technology and food monitoring enable farmers to use end-to-end traceability to monitor food safety and to stay transparent with their employees and distributors. Food safety initiatives also aim to provide trust and transparency throughout the food production process.
Farmland protection tools
Development pressures constantly destroy thousands of acres of farmland across the United States each year. For example, California is a state that sees over 50,000 acres lost annually, reducing the amount of farmland to grow healthy produce.
Our food supply suffers from lost farmland while also negatively impacting biodiversity and the quality of land remaining. Protective strategies can support the revitalization and refreshment of the land we rely on most to grow key crops and produce.
Efficient ERP systems
Implementing a modern and efficient ERP system like Inecta's is easy. It's designed to be a centralized system, reducing the reliance on other expensive tools.
Our proactive approach to food safety and sustainable solutions for your produce distribution company allows you to adapt to climate change and reduce your environmental footprint.
Inecta uses cloud-based technology that adapts with the times, so you never have to worry about falling behind on new and advanced technology.
For more information on how Inecta can help you and your business, visit our website at www.inecta.com.