Innovation, Sustainability Global
April 15, 2024 | 22–27 min read

Top 10 Agriculture Trends to Watch in 2024


With climate change, a burgeoning population, and looming concerns about food security, the world has never been more focused on food and agriculture. Embracing modern, sustainable agricultural practices has never been more critical. In 2024, various upcoming Ag trends emerge, leveraging technology to meet global challenges. 

ICL is a world-renowned leader in agriculture, food, and industrial products, and leverages its unmatched research and development capabilities to create pioneering solutions to address the growing sustainability concerns. ICL’s insights play a pivotal role in shaping the discussion. Here, we unfold the top ten trends in agriculture set to revolutionize agriculture in 2024 and look at how ICL is helping to drive farming and food innovation. 

The Top Ten Ag Trends 2024

Ag Trend #1 Digital Agriculture

Today, digital agriculture stands at the forefront of transforming the farming landscape. Recognized by the USDA as pivotal, it addresses the myriad challenges agriculture faces worldwide — from escalating production costs and climate change impacts to labor shortages. At its core, digital agriculture uses a suite of advanced tools to revolutionize field management and data-informed decision-making:

Smart Farming Technologies

Utilizing drones, robotic harvesters, and IoT devices, digital agriculture transcends traditional practices. These tools offer precise monitoring and management of crops, streamlining operations, and optimizing resource use. IoT technology, in particular, equips farmers with real-time data on soil conditions, crop health, and environmental factors, enabling targeted interventions and enhanced productivity.

Remote Monitoring and Automation

Critical to modern farming, sensors embedded in IoT devices monitor vital parameters, including soil moisture, temperature, and crop health. This not only facilitates remote farm management but also propels the automation of irrigation systems, ensuring water is delivered efficiently to crops when and where it’s needed most.

ICL is at the vanguard, integrating digital agriculture with its deep industry knowledge and innovative solutions. Through digital tools, specialty and next-generation fertilizers, and biostimulants, ICL empowers farmers and agronomists with the tools to embrace big data, optimize operations, and sustainably meet the demands of a growing global population.

Ag Trend #2 Use of Digital Twins & Generative AI 

In the rapidly evolving field of AgTech, digital twins and generative AI stand out as transformative technologies, leveraging both synthetic and real-world data to make significant impacts on agronomical research and field-level decision-making. Digital twins are virtual replicas of physical systems, and generative AI acts as the brain that brings digital twins to life with its predictive analytics and pattern recognition capabilities. Together, they are revolutionizing how we approach agriculture, offering a dynamic and predictive understanding of farming operations.

Digital twins bring to life detailed simulations of farming environments, allowing researchers and product designers to explore countless scenarios and evaluate performance, cost, and sustainability metrics. When paired with generative AI, these virtual models gain the ability to predict real-world outcomes with remarkable accuracy. This synergy not only enhances the scope of AgTech research but also substantially reduces project costs and development timelines.

Generative AI, in particular, offers the groundbreaking potential to reshape the agricultural landscape. By analyzing vast datasets, including historical weather patterns and soil conditions, AI enables farmers to make informed decisions about planting and crop management, optimize resource use, and achieve higher yields with lower environmental impact. This predictive capacity helps mitigate risks associated with weather, pests, and disease, safeguarding farmers’ livelihoods and contributing to more resilient food systems.

Through its innovative platform, ICL’s StartUp Agmatix harnesses the power of AI to streamline agricultural processes, develop actionable insights, and create tools that promote sustainable farming practices. Agmatix uses AI to analyze big data, supporting data-informed decision-making.

For example, its advanced predictive models enable farmers to anticipate crop needs and environmental impacts, thereby enhancing decision-making and operational efficiency. As we continue to face the challenges of feeding a growing global population and mitigating climate change, the role of innovative technologies like digital twins and generative AI becomes increasingly vital. ICL’s commitment to these technologies underscores its dedication to pioneering solutions that not only improve agricultural productivity but also align with the broader goals of environmental stewardship and sustainability.

Ag Trend #3 Regenerative Agriculture

A key trend in agriculture regenerative agriculture is redefining sustainable farming, with practices designed not just to maintain but to enhance soil health, biodiversity, and ecosystem resilience. This approach embodies a transformative shift, prioritizing the restoration of land degraded by conventional agriculture and mitigating the impacts of farming on the climate.

Key to regenerative agriculture is its holistic toolkit:

  1. Adaptive Grazing: This method optimizes pasture layouts and grazing patterns to improve both plant growth and carbon sequestration.
  2. No-Till Farming: By minimizing soil disturbance, no-till practices reduce erosion and enhance water retention, supporting underground biodiversity.
  3. Chemical Reduction: Limiting synthetic pesticides and fertilizers encourages a healthier, more diverse soil microbiome, which is crucial for nutrient cycling and disease suppression.

Moreover, regenerative farming practices extend beyond soil restoration to influence the broader ecological balance. By increasing soil organic matter, farms not only capture more carbon but also bolster water resilience and food security. The strategy also integrates carbon trading as a viable income stream for farmers, recognizing their contribution to a healthier planet.

Ag Trend #4 Sustainable Farming Practices

As the global focus shifts to sustainability, agriculture is no exception. Practices that meet environmental, as well as social, and economic needs are essential. For example, Mintel’s latest report on consumer trends in 2024 states that incorporating sustainability into the day-to-day is not enough.  Sustainability should not be a mere selling point for products but should be seen as an essential element of survival. 

The demand for sustainably produced and organic food products is rising globally with the growing awareness of health and sustainability. ICL also promotes safe and sustainable farming practices through its customer agronomic advice and training work. For example, ICL agronomists engage and train farmers on effective and balanced crop nutrition. This includes optimizing applications of plant nutrients to increase yields and improve quality while maintaining sustainability and soil fertility for future generations. 

Ag Trend #5 Optimized Food Supply Chains

The recent upheavals, like the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine conflict, have exposed vulnerabilities in long supply chains and concerns over food security, as well as a shift to local foods that will drive shorter supply chains. Consumers are increasingly wanting to know the origin of the food products they buy. This trend is driven by the growing health-conscious population worldwide, which is not only concerned about their health but also about the impact caused by the food they consume. 

Consumer panic buying during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact of the closure of food processing and distribution plants, put pressure on supply chains and exposed the limitations of cost-efficient and streamlined supply chains to remain and adapt to unexpected disruptions. 

By embracing local sourcing, the industry not only addresses immediate challenges of supply chain sustainability and consumer transparency but also contributes to broader environmental goals by minimizing transportation distances and supporting local economies. This strategic shift not only aligns with the growing consumer preference for ‘food with a story’ but also plays a crucial role in building a more resilient and sustainable food system for the future.

Ag Trend #6 Reducing Food Waste

An alarming proportion of produced food is wasted, with both economic and environmental repercussions. Over one-third of the food produced in the World goes to waste either due to poor storage technology in the developing World or by consumers in developed countries. 

New technologies and methodologies are being developed to curtail this waste, from the production level to the consumer end. Innovations such as food-sharing apps and “smart” storage systems are helping to reduce food loss.  As a leading provider of phosphates for the food industry, ICL produces shelf-life-extending phosphate-based products that have reliable performance and consistent quality. In addition, ICL has developed FruitMag™ – an innovative and sustainable mineral-based post-harvest treatment that specifically addresses the shelf life of citrus fruit. FruitMag™ is a post-harvest treatment to extend shelf life without the use of chemicals or fungicides.

Ag Trend #7 Alternative Proteins

There’s a noticeable shift towards plant-based and lab-grown proteins, a trend gaining momentum due to health, ethical, and environmental concerns– a movement expected to continue. Health and nutrition remain the key motivations for plant-based consumers who are starting to shift towards more plant-based and alternative proteins. Alternative proteins that target specific nutritional needs or provide a similar sensory experience to their animal-based counterpart. 

The growing interest in alternative protein sources is leading to a transformative shift in crop cultivation patterns, with farmers increasingly turning to high-demand crops like soybeans, peas, and other legumes, vital for crafting these alternative protein sources. 

This shift is not just about diversifying the crops but also about enhancing agricultural practices through technological innovation. By leveraging advancements in genetic engineering and crop science, the agriculture sector is aiming to improve the yield, protein efficiency, and climate resilience of these crops. It’s a strategic pivot, aligning farming practices with consumer preferences for sustainable and ethical food choices.

This trend is becoming a driving force for change in the agricultural sector, pushing for more efficient use of land and resources. As farmers and agribusinesses navigate this shift, the focus is on producing the raw materials needed for alternative proteins in a way that supports the health of our planet and its inhabitants. 

The journey towards a sustainable agricultural future is complex, yet the rise of alternative proteins offers a pathway that balances innovation with environmental stewardship, reflecting the sector’s adaptability and its critical role in feeding a growing global population.

ICL is pioneering research into affordable and sustainable alternative proteins that meet consumer expectations for taste, texture, nutritional density – and ethical sourcing with a transparent supply chain.

The company is drawing on its experience with phosphates and food products to improve the flavor, color, and texture of various meat and cheese alternatives. New proprietary ROVITARIS®  technology is delivering vegetable-based proteins that are transformed into fibrous textures and emulsions, virtually indistinguishable from traditional meat products. 

Planet Startup Hub, ICL’s Food Tech and AgTech accelerator, is fostering strategic investments and partnerships with innovative alternative protein startups, leading to remarkable advancements:

  • Arkeon, an Austrian startup, is utilizing microbes to convert CO2 into viable protein ingredients, potentially revolutionizing global food security.
  • Protera employs advanced AI solutions to develop new plant-based proteins, with its predictive algorithm MADI™ identifying proteins for new ingredient development.
  • Plantible Foods is at the forefront of cultivating Lemna, a nutrient-dense aquatic plant with the potential to become a modern superfood, through sustainable high-tech production processes

Ag Trend #8 MRV: Measurement, Reporting, and Verification

The global push to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is generating attractive financial incentives for farmers and agronomists (and businesses in general) to reduce and offset their carbon footprint. The carbon credit system is designed to encourage and incentivize a fundamental shift to carbon net zero. Its positive impact is undeniable, but confidence in the voluntary carbon market can always be improved. 

Bloomberg estimates that the voluntary carbon market could be worth over $30 billion by 2050. This is an optimistic assessment that is conditional on improved MRV or measurement, reporting, and verification for the entire carbon credit system. At its simplest, stakeholders need to accurately demonstrate the efficacy of their initiatives to reduce GHG emissions in order to claim carbon credits (for each Ton of CO2 emissions that are eliminated, stakeholders can claim one credit). 

MRV is a multi-step process that uses big data to create an accurate and verifiable picture of the success of individual carbon sequestration projects. With so much at stake, transparency and third-party verification of processes are essential. 

MRV methodology can deliver significant and genuine reductions in GHG emissions and ensure probity and value for money – and vital credibility – across the entire carbon credit system. ICL is committed to achieving carbon net zero across its own global operations by 2050 and has also signed up for the Science Based Targets Initiative

Ag Trend #9 Agricultural Biotechnology

Agricultural biotechnology is usually just referred to as Agritech or AgBiotech. It’s a modern iteration of a practice that began in prehistoric farming and enabled our survival and transition to a modern industrial society. This field has evolved from traditional breeding methods to encompass a wide spectrum of scientific and technological innovations, including genetic engineering, genome editing, transgenics, microbiome, biologicals, metabolomics and RNA interference, aimed at enhancing agronomical research, farming, and food production.

While some aspects of agricultural science, particularly genetic engineering, have sparked controversy due to ethical, health, and environmental concerns, the stringent regulation of new GMO products ensures rigorous evaluation and safety testing. Despite these challenges, the potential benefits of AgBiotech innovations are enormous, offering alternative solutions to global issues of food security by boosting the nutritional value of staple crops and developing resilient varieties suited for challenging climates.

As we adapt to the challenges of climate change, we urgently need resilient crops that can deliver high yields under conditions of drought, flooding, or adverse temperatures, and that are adaptable to marginal lands, new urban farms, and other non-traditional growing methods. 

ICL is at the forefront of this technological evolution, leveraging biotechnology as part of its strategic investment in sustainable agriculture. With the acquisition of the Brazilian company Nitro 1000, a groundbreaking manufacturer, developer, and provider of biologicals, ICL has strategically positioned itself with the soybean, corn, and sugar cane industries with great potential to develop innovative fertilizer and nutritional solutions. 

This $30 million investment underscores ICL’s commitment to innovation in fertilizer and nutritional solutions, aiming to address the pressing challenges of modern agriculture while ensuring environmental stewardship and sustainability.

Ag Trend #10 Global Agriculture Production Needs to Step Up

A growing global population and pressure on land and natural resources require a surge in food production through increased efficiency. According to the 2023 Global GAP Report from 2011 to 2021, global TFP (total factor productivity) grew at an average of just 1.14% annually. However, to sustainably feed a growing global population by 2050, we must now aim for 1.91% average annual TFP growth.

Many argue that the best way to meet the demand for food while conserving biodiversity and combating climatic trends is to produce as much food as sustainably possible on land that is already farmed more efficiently. This way natural and unspoilt habitats can be “spared the plow”. Thus greater use of technology, with more efficient use of inputs will be essential in achieving sustainable food production. 

Many of the tools to achieve this are deployed by ICL, including precision agriculture, and integrated solutions for fertilization and irrigation, that are both radically efficient and highly specific to crops, soil, and climatic conditions. Through their crop nutrition products and solutions, ICL aids farmers in enhancing crop yields and overall productivity more sustainably, helping to meet global food production challenges. 

More on the subject:
What are Water Soluble Fertilizers (WSFs) and How They Function
Agriculture Top Trends to Watch For in 2023
Importance of Soil Health and Soil Improvement In Agriculture

ICL’s Solutions: Pioneering Sustainable Agriculture

ICL stands at the forefront of crop nutrition and agricultural innovation, showcasing unwavering dedication to sustainability. With cutting-edge products and solutions, we are not just addressing but actively shaping the future of agriculture.

The AgTech industry trends of 2024 illustrate the rapid evolution of agriculture, blending technology with traditional practices. In this dynamic landscape, ICL plays a crucial role, in guiding and supporting transformative trends with a focus on sustainability.

We invite innovators and those dedicated to sustainable food production to engage with ICL Open and ICL Planet StartUp Hub. These platforms offer unparalleled resources and collaboration opportunities to tackle modern agriculture’s complexities. Together, we can forge a path to a sustainable, food-secure future.

Discover more about our commitment to sustainable food production and how we can support your business. Contact us today.

Hadar Sutovsky, ICL VP of Corporate Investments & General Manager of ICL Planet

This post was written in cooperation with

Hadar Sutovsky, ICL VP of Corporate Investments & General Manager of ICL Planet

Hadar combines extensive expertise in startup investments, venture capital, incubation, innovation, and global business development across international sectors, with a focus on Climate, Sustainable Agriculture, and Foodtech. Prior to ICL, Hadar served as a Managing Partner at Aquagro Fund, a dedicated impact investment management firm.  Along her professional path, Hadar led Innovation and investments in areas of AgriFood & Sustainability for the Global Unilever Open Innovation Hub in TLV and Frutarom. Hadar holds an MBA in Strategy and Innovation and MSc in Molecular Microbiology & Biotechnology from Tel Aviv University.  Beyond her professional endeavors, she generously volunteers as a certified Yoga teacher to contribute to the community. Hadar is married and resides in Tel Aviv. For more info follow Hadar on LinkedIn and ICL Planet website.

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