Ag Ranks Low in Top Innovators List

Cindy Zimmerman

For the second year, the media organization Thompson Reuters has named its “Top 100 Global Innovators” and I received an email about the list headlined “Agriculture Industry is Innovating.”

“The Agriculture industry has a 1% representation with Monsanto making the list,” the press release says. “Last year Agriculture had 0% representation.”

So that means agricultural companies making the list went up by 100% since the first one – but really? Only one ag company on a list of 100 innovators? When I checked the entire list, I found a couple of other companies that could be classified as agricultural by having large agricultural divisions – DuPont, Dow and John Deere. DuPont and Dow are listed in the chemical industry, which indeed they are, and both made the list last year. John Deere is in the machinery category and was not on last year’s listing. The biggest industry segment of the companies making the list are in semiconductor and electrical and computer hardware, representing more than 30% of the list.

Thompson Reuters says the list was compiled using a system that focuses on companies responsible for generating a sizable amount of innovation. All organizations with 100 or more “innovative” patents from the most recent three years were included for consideration. Other factors include success of the patents, influence down the line and global adoption.

With all the innovations in seed technology, precision farming and crop protection, you would think that agriculture could make a better representation than just one percent of the top innovators in the world – or even 4% if you count the other three with ag interests. It’s not really that ag is not being counted, or that it is being hidden in companies that have a wide scope of interests. It seems like the answer may be that not enough time, effort and dollars are being invested in agriculture on a global scale, especially considering all the noise being made about nine billion people to feed by 2050. What do you think?

Agribusiness, Dupont, General, John Deere, Monsanto