NAMA Highlights—Young People the Most Important Trend of All

This past week, I had the opportunity to travel down to Kansas City, Missouri, to compete in my first NAMA competition. NAMA stands for the National Agri-Marketing Association and our team competed against 30 other collegiate teams.This competition consists of finding a new agricultural product that just hit the market or is about to and developing a marketing plan for that product. You are scored on how well you execute your plan, the strategies used to promote your plan, and how effective your plan would be with the intended target market.
Iowa State Cyclone Marketing Team
This year the Cyclone Marketing Team brought the product BackGROUND Check to the competition. BackGROUND Check is a map-based valuation tool. This mobile-friendly website service draws on public data and allows the farmer to customize the report by adding in specific crop production budgets to estimate farmland values and cash flow projections on a field-by-field basis. Basically, this tool is helping farmers look at a specific piece of land to see if they are getting a positive ROI.
Trends of the Future

There were many new products at this competition and definitely some unique ones, but they were all based on something buzzing in the agriculture sector. These different trends grabbed my attention, not only by seeing how these new products are affected by the trends, but also how they affect the future of agriculture.
Key topics included:
Healthy Food Market included topics from organic growth to sustainable shopping to overcoming healthy eating barriers. Consumers are looking for a healthy option that is relatively affordable, convenient to make, locally grown, and environmentally minded. A unique example came from a group that featured crickets as a protein source in a brownie mix.
Water is vital and its availability can’t keep up with the demands of the world population. Products designed to increase clean water sources will be on the rise for years to come.
Farmers are well aware of the steady decrease in commodity prices. This trend has a huge impact on the food we grow and eat—especially here in the heartland. With the competition increasing, farmers are looking for new ways to reevaluate farming operations—to make sure they can cut out the unnecessary cost to insure a positive income.
And lastly, a big trend focuses on ways to use surplus commodities to reduce waste. No one likes to let a resource go unused. Finding innovative ways to turn surplus into valuable products is a hot trend for the agriculture industry and investment prospects. For example, a North Dakota team promoted Manic Energy, a runner’s energy-boosting product made from surplus maple syrup.
The agriculture industry is always affected by new trends and constantly changing to diversify the market. I learned a lesson last week that really made me stop and think for a second. It was when one of the chairmen of the NAMA competition gave a speech at orientation. He was talking to us about when he was in our shoes and competing in this same event. He said that the product he presented back in the 80s was ethanol. He mentioned that he never would have thought ethanol would be where it is today.
This is where I had my moment of realization. The work that we as young adults put in today has an impact on the way we will view the world tomorrow. Our thoughts today lead to the innovations of tomorrow, but it is the generation of today that will lead us to the future of agriculture. And in the end that is the most important trend of all.
by Hannah Pagel

Help Support CAST

Your donation to CAST helps support the CAST mission of communicating science to meet the challenge of producing enough food, fiber and fuel for a growing population. Every gift, no matter the size, is appreciated.