The Odyssey Continues…

Forty years after I began my college education (1976), I began my full-time teaching career in agribusiness and economics (2016).  In 1976, there was no such thing as agribusiness.  Once I got to Greenville University (Greenville, IL), I set out to define agribusiness for my students.  I have found that whoever needs a definition, creates a new one.  I start my first class now, after 4 years, with six different definitions of agribusiness.  I also impart of upon the students that they have their entire careers to define what it means to them.  My students have had internships with life-science companies, traditional input suppliers, local dairies, medical marijuana facilities, and public waste water treatments facilities.

Years ago, Walmart expanded into the business of retail food.  Not long ago, Amazon bought Whole foods.  Bayer bought Monsanto.  COVID-19 has turned retail food upside-down over a few short weeks.   Currently, Uber is working on a deal for Grubhub.  Everyone wants to be a part of serving or processing production agriculture.

That begs then next question: What is production agriculture?  Back in the old days it was farming.  Today there are also many definitions of farming.  Plus, we are moving into an era of meat substitutes (cultured meats of different sorts) as we race to increase access to locally grown food.   Defining production agriculture is no more straight forward than defining agribusiness.

My world, my career, has been built around creating wealth in rural areas from cultivating and recycling carbohydrates (CHO) and nutrients (mostly NPK and Ca).  Thirty eight years ago this month, I went off to work on a cropping systems program in Nepal with the Peace Corps.  Even before I understood economics, I loved the idea of creating new, and local wealth.

This is my mantra.  Agriculture and agribusiness all facilitate wealth creation, environmental quality, renewable energy and efficiency, and life style/quality of life.  We will unpack all these nuances together as we move forward from here.

Biomass Rules, Bay-Bee!

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