Building on Jules Janick, Department of Horticulture at Purdue, the agro-economy is:
“the art, business, public policy and programs and science, indeed the whole range of economic activities involved in:
- manufacturing and distributing the inputs used in farming and other industries that produce goods and services derived substantially from agriculture;
- the production of crops, animals and animal products;
- the processing of the above into bulk, intermediary, or consumer goods and services (e.g. food, fuel, pharmaceuticals, materials, environmental goods and services, etc.) which rely upon agriculture as a major input,
- the provision of these products at a time and place demanded by consumers,
- the management, use and disposal of by-products.”
The scope of the agri-economy, so defined, encompasses more than producers and processors. It includes those who provide the marketing expertise, retail channels, public policy, regulatory programs and enforcement, science and innovation, financing, and transportation — to name but a few of services required to successfully transform agriculture into useful products for the market and society as a whole.
The sustainable resources of the agri-economy — if managed appropriately through, for example, investments in innovative public policy and a business environment conducive to research and commercialization — provide renewable feedstock for many manufacturing industries within the agri-economy (e.g., manufacturers of food, bio-fuels, bio-pharmaceutical and bio-materials.)
Given investments in intellectual capital, farmers and manufacturers can and do partner with other agri-economic companies beyond Canada. In so doing, they increase Canada’s competitiveness, provide employment and tax dollars, and profitably deliver goods and services to meet both commercial and societal demand in local and global markets.