1H 2021 Agribusiness M&A Report

If necessity is the mother of invention, agribusiness may be in for a renaissance because this year’s scorching heat and drought have backed farmers into a corner. Parts of the wheat belt in the Northwest saw little rain through 1H21. Parts of typically wet Oregon were declared drought zones. By July, the U.S. drought map painted every western state in deep shades of red to indicate severe drought, with abnormally dry and drought conditions stretching across northern wheat, corn, and cattle state clear to Chicago and parts of the upper Midwest. Some areas are reporting as little as a quarter of anticipated rainfall over the preceding 90 days. Canada’s farmlands, too, baked this spring, threatening the wheat belt and other crops from Vancouver to Quebec. Colorado reservoirs were drained to supply downstream farmers all the way to California, and scientists predicted a “megadrought,” the second-worst in 1,200 years and perhaps the start of permanent drought, caused in part, some said, by human-caused climate change. As farmers struggle to keep up with global demand, consumers can expect higher prices. And it’s not just farmers who are suffering. Ranchers, faced with the prospect of too many cattle for available water and grazing lands, either need to cull herds through early slaughter or purchase hay. Both will likely result in higher prices for consumers. The federal government by the end of 1H21 was already reporting earlier than usual slaughter periods…

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