15 New Innovative Agricultural Business Ideas

In this article, we discuss the 15 new innovative agricultural business ideas. If you want to read about some more innovative agricultural business ideas, go directly to 5 New Innovative Agricultural Business Ideas

Agriculture is one of the oldest businesses in the world and historians actually use the business and the innovations within it to map out the history of the world. Numerous inventions in the field of agriculture have enabled humanity to make giant leaps in their quality of life. In the present tech-focused world, big companies like Nutrien Ltd. (NYSE:NTR), Corteva, Inc. (NYSE:CTVA), and Bunge Limited (NYSE:BG) are all working towards scaling and deploying some of the newest and most innovative ideas in the business. These include disruptive cultivation, distribution, and processing technology. 

The agriculture business is thriving, providing these big firms with the research and development funding necessary to explore innovative ideas. According to a report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), global food consumption is expected to increase by nearly 1.3% per year in the next ten years. This increase in demand, as well as inflation – the OECD estimates that for every 1% increase in fertilizer prices, agricultural commodity prices would increase by 0.2% – and increases in energy, seeds, labor and machinery prices, the sector looks set to be one of the top performers in the world economy. 

Farmers across the globe have been focusing on production instead of land-use, as tech-enabled precision agricultural techniques become more popular. The OECD claims that yield improvements will command a nearly 80% increase in global crop production growth in the coming decade, with cropland expansion only accounting for around 15% during this time. As such, it is essential for businesses to focus on improving yield and focusing on tech-based farm management solutions. Some of the newest and most innovative agricultural business ideas are discussed below. 

One of these innovative ideas is investments in climate-smart and carbon neutral production processes and technologies. Latest research suggests that greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture will increase by more than 7.5% in the next ten years. Although this number is lower than the nearly 13% increase in output, climate bodies have stressed the need for effectively using agriculture in climate mitigation. In addition, investors could look towards sponsoring advances in herd management and higher feed intensity, since most of the share in the 1.3% growth in livestock and fish production over the next year will come as a direct result of efficient management and feed techniques.

There are some other numbers that should be of interest to agriculture investors. Business Research Company, a global market research and consulting firm, estimates that the global agriculture market is worth more than $13.5 trillion in 2023, up from $12.2 trillion in 2022. This represents a compound annual growth rate of an astonishing 9.4%. This growth is expected to stretch to 2027 with the agriculture industry expanding to $19 trillion in size. One of the prime reasons behind this is the increase in global population, which will touch 10 billion in the coming years. Crop production, trade, and farming activities will all have to increase substantially to meet growing demand.

Investments in poultry and milk are going to lead this growth. Per the OECD, poultry will account for more than half of total meat production growth in the coming years globally. This is because the meat-to-feed price ratio for poultry is significantly lower than that of other meats and there is sustained profitability in the sector. In the milk sector, the sub-continent is at the forefront, with Pakistan and India representing nearly half of all growth in milk production globally. Investments in biofuel feedstocks are also likely to grow, with India and Indonesia accounting for most of this growth.

Our Methodology

In this article, we will list the 15 new innovative agricultural business ideas. We scoured the internet for innovative agricultural business ideas, looking through articles from prominent websites, Reddit threads, and agricultural pages. The ideas which had prominent startups working in the respective fields with actual products were preferred for the list. 

New Innovative Agricultural Business Ideas

New Innovative Agricultural Business Ideas

Photo by Sebastian Gómez on Unsplash

 

 

New Innovative Agricultural Business Ideas

15. Urban Farming

Urban farming is the cultivation of crops, livestock, and types of food in an urban environment. As cities become larger across the world – the United Nations estimates that there are almost a hundred cities around the globe with a population of more than 5 million – there is a growing need for sustainable agricultural solutions to feed the people living in these cities. Rooftop gardens, urban forests, and vertical farming are some of the urban farming techniques being used to provide for cities worldwide. Cities are adopting urban farming because locally produced food saves on shipping costs, vertical farming allows for more production per farming area, and local governments are able to utilize unused spaces for food cultivation and build communities with strong ties to their city. Cities also save on water, pesticides, and other costs associated with traditional farming in the switch to urban farming. Per research firm industry arc, the global urban farming market size was estimated at over $200 billion in 2020 and expected to grow at an annual rate of nearly 3% in the next six years. 

Big companies like Nutrien Ltd. (NYSE:NTR), Corteva, Inc. (NYSE:CTVA), and Bunge Limited (NYSE:BG) are also tapping into the incredible potential of new innovative agriculture business ideas like urban farming. 

14. Edible Coating to Help Produce Last Longer

One of the biggest problems with the agriculture business around the world is the shipping costs associated with moving produce from one place to another. The costs are expensive since food is required to be refrigerated when in transit. If the refrigeration is not effective, the chances of the food going bad are very high. Businesses have been trying to come up with a cost-effective solution to this problem for decades. Recently, several startups have begun experimenting with an organic food coating put on agricultural produce to make it last longer during transportation, thus saving on electricity costs of refrigeration. This reduces food wastage and also enables cheaper shipping. One of the most popular names in this industry is Apeel Sciences, a California-based firm that obtained funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for their revolutionary work in the agricultural field. In 2021, the firm raised over $250 million in a Series E funding round at a valuation of more than $2 billion. 

13. Robotic Rock Picking

Farmers need to pick rocks from their fields before they can deploy heavy machinery. These rocks, if not picked properly, can cause damage to the machinery and to crops. Rocks accumulate in the fields with time as they travel with the flow of water. Some rocks are formed in the field itself as the water in the soil freezes and expands, pushing stones onto the surface of the soil. Rocks typically conduct heat away from crops, thereby affecting healthy growth. Farmers thus need to remove rocks from their fields periodically, a slow and painstaking process for which they often need to hire external help. In recent years, innovative agricultural businesses have been working on an automated solution to this problem. By combining robotics with artificial intelligence, companies now offer farmers robots that map their fields for rocks and let them decide when and where to pick rocks. One of these firms, TerraClear, has raised more than $38 million in funding over three rounds. Co-founder Brent Frei is also the founder of Smartsheet, a firm with a market capitalization of more than $5 billion. The rock picker offered by Terraclear can pick 400 rocks per hour. 

12. Smart Nitrogen Producer in Soil

Nitrogen fertilizers are one of the most important products in the agriculture business. Nearly every farmer requires these fertilizers to boost the nitrogen content of the soil and cultivate healthy crops. These fertilizers are also expensive. It costs farmers $0.68 per pound of nitrogen on average to fertilize their fields. A farmer can use as much as 200 pounds to fertilize 100 bushels per acre. Businesses are using cutting edge new methods to optimize the application of nitrogen fertilizer in fields and bring down these costs. These firms also aim to solve the problem of excess nitrogen use, which can cause acid rain and oxygen depletion in water bodies. For example, Kula Bio, a startup based in Massachusetts, has developed a cheap biofertilizer that only supplies nitrogen to the soil when needed, thereby helping reduce waste and runoff. In January, the firm raised over $50 million in a Series A funding round. It has a valuation of more than $300 million. 

11. Apps Connecting Farmers to Buyers

Smartphones have revolutionized the world. This revolution is slowly penetrating the agricultural sector as well. In the field of agriculture, one of the biggest problems that farmers face is the selling of their produce at fair prices. Since big companies monopolize prices, it has become harder for small farmers to sustain themselves because it is difficult for them to access the market directly. The tech world has come up with a solution to this problem. Developers around the world are working on applications which will connect farmers directly to buyers, thereby removing the middleman and helping both farmers and buyers get better prices. One of these firms, ProducePay, also uses data on harvests, markets, and climate to help farmers make informed choices about their produce. The ProducePay platform offers farmers access to a B2B marketplace and also provides financial and tech-enabled solutions to their farming needs. ProducePay raised over $43 million in a Series C funding round in 2021. It is valued at nearly $500 million. 

10. Drones to Analyze Field Data

Drones can serve many purposes, from recording stunning aerial visuals to providing delivery services to eshoppers. Drones also have a variety of applications in the agricultural domain. Drone-linked business opportunities in the agricultural sector are slowly beginning to mature as early movers in the industry realize profits and scale production. Some of the uses of drones in the agriculture sector include pesticide spraying, field mapping, and field monitoring. The use of drones helps farmers make smarter decisions. For example, drone mapping of fields can help farmers determine which areas of their field require pesticides and when, thereby reducing the time and cost it would have taken to determine this manually. One of the best startups in this area is XAG, a China-based drone firm with businesses in Australia and the United Kingdom. The firm has raised more than $248 million in funding over three rounds, per Crunchbase. The company is tapping into a drone market expected to be worth more than $6 billion by the end of this decade. 

9. Satellites to Analyze Field Data

The use of remote sensing for farming and planning has become an increasingly important tool in recent years, especially for governments worried about food insecurity. Since it is costly to send a satellite into space that has the cameras and sensors required to take the imagery that would help with crop planning, farmers pay businesses for access to high-quality satellite data of their farmlands. These images, when developed and studied after data extraction, and coupled with climate pattern analysis, can help determine the ideal crops to plant in a season that will yield the best profits. On a larger scale, these images help governments direct water flows and study farm and forest areas for degradation over periods of time. Spectral signatures from plants and crops are the key to this and can be extracted from the images obtained. These images can be in the optical, infrared, or even radio wavelengths. It costs hundreds of millions of dollars to send satellites into space for this purpose. However, it only costs a few thousand dollars to obtain these images and perform software analysis for crop planning. 

8. App For Selling Imperfect Produce

Farmers often have the problem of surplus or imperfect food in their inventories. This food is sold in the marketplace or privately at huge discounts. For example, superstores in the developed world are obsessed with the looks of the product as much as the quality itself. However, superstores in the developing world might also accept imperfect products that do not look clean but are of the same quality. Businesses have come up with a creative solution to this problem. Applications now offer farmers the ability to sell their surplus or imperfect inventories at market-determined prices. One of such apps, called FarMart, connects farmers with restaurants, cafes, soup kitchens, and other places that could use items discarded by large suppliers. In this way, food wastage is reduced. FarMart has raised nearly $50 million in funding over six rounds and is valued at more than $150 million. 

7. RNA Products for Agriculture

The use of microbiology to protect livestock and crops from viruses while increasing yield is a new and innovative business in the agriculture sector. Companies are using RNA tech to help protect honeybees from viruses. This helps farmers produce more honey and make more money selling it. One of the best success stories in this domain is Greenlight, a startup based in the United States that is valued at more than $1 billion. One of the premier products of the company is an RNA-based solution to protect honeybees from the Varroa destructor mite. These mites are found in nearly 90% of bee farms across the United States and are the leading threat to honeybees in the region. The RNA solution of Greenlight lowers mite levels in bees and is a cost-effective solution compared to chemical pest control products that are expensive and also not as effective. 

6. Community-Supported Agriculture

Community-supported agriculture business ideas have started taking off as urban farming becomes more popular. Farmers can now grow crops exactly according to the needs of consumers. Applications and subscription services offer buyers a chance to buy a share in the produce of a single farm, thereby providing them with a daily or monthly supply of their grocery needs. In this way, the farmers have regular customers. These community programs, often called CSA programs, rake in a lot of money for the company that is acting as the go-between for the farmer and the consumer. Similarly, local governments are running programs to incentivize urban farming by letting locals take care of urban farming areas and sell the produce they make from these to the local community. 

Big companies like Nutrien Ltd. (NYSE:NTR), Corteva, Inc. (NYSE:CTVA), and Bunge Limited (NYSE:BG) are also tapping into the incredible potential of new innovative agriculture business ideas like community-supported agriculture. 

 

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Disclosure. None. 15 New Innovative Agricultural Business Ideas is originally published on Insider Monkey.