Fad or Future: Controlled Environment Agriculture

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Fad or Future: Controlled Environment Agriculture

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Michael Gunderson, PhD Blaine Nelson Tom Karmel Robert Galbraith
NOV 22, 2021

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Executive Summary

Controlled environment agriculture (CEA) has benefitted in recent years from consumer preferences that increasingly favor sustainability. While the origination of CEA dates back centuries, CEA did not flourish in the U.S. until recently, with output increasing 56% since 2009.1 The industry is poised to grow further still, due to technological innovation and increased investment in the space. Challenges remain, though, as CEA operators face higher production costs and rising competition from imports. Regardless, we expect CEA to play an increasingly important role in the modern U.S. food system.