Indoor ag challenges and opportunities highlighted in new report
By Luke Streit
As indoor agriculture becomes a key player in the push to stabilize food supply and find new ways to create food for our population, our engineers are constantly looking for new technology that can help our clients who are working to meet this demand. Recently, Forbes released their Indoor AgTech Landscape for 2021, highlighting more than 1,300 companies that make up the indoor ag sector, including component technology companies, growing system providers, and tech-forward indoor farm operators. Since we follow this sector closely, we picked up on a few highlights from the report:
Supply chain shortcomings. It’s no surprise that the pandemic has had an impact on our existing food supply chain. But Indoor ag presents an opportunity to grow food virtually anywhere, even in highly populated urban areas. That means more people have access to locally grown food and the ability to easily trace where it comes from and how it was processed and packaged. Additionally, more growth facilities mean less travel time for food, putting fresher food on more tables.
Decrease in global crop production due to climate change. Traditional farming methods will not be able to keep up with our growing demand for food while also facing the effects of climate change. But indoor agriculture not only protects crops from the elements, it gives growers the ability to produce consistent crops year-round, even in areas not suitable for traditional farming.
Sustainability challenges. While indoor growth isn’t the perfect solution to reducing the environmental impact of agriculture practices, it does offer some unique alternatives to energy sources, such as water reuse, cogeneration, geothermal sources, and waste heat networks.
Automation and technology will change the landscape. Most indoor growth facilities are already adopting cutting-edge technology and automation tools to increase their efficiency and ease labor challenges. The Indoor AgTech Landscape predicts the up-and-coming innovative technologies will include “crop optimization and autonomous control of the growing environment based on imaging and sensor platforms, data analysis, machine learning, digital twins, and artificial intelligence.”
At IMEG, we strive to inform our clients of the newest technology and strategies available in the industry as we work together to find innovative solutions to today’s food supply challenges.
Download copy of the Indoor AgTech Landscape for 2021 and read a thorough commentary on the report here.