Prior to the opening of the Commodity Classic event in San Antonio, a special forum was held to examine the question what will agriculture need to do in order to meet world food demands of the future. Sponsored by Bayer Crop Science, the 2 day forum focused on what tools and technology agriculture will need in order to feed the nine billion people expected in the world by the year 2050. David Hollinrink, VP of Bayer, called for a new technological revolution, similar to the Green revolution of the last century, “Innovation will be essential in order to increase food production.” He said Bayer is investing major financial resources to foster and develop that kind of innovation. He added that, in addition to more people to feed, a growing world GDP means people will want to eat better, “When you move from a grain diet to a protein diet, you will need significantly greater resources and production.”
But, with growing opposition to biotechnology by consumers, will farmers be allowed to use this new technology to increase food production? “That is at the heart of the discussion we are having here at this forum,” said Hollinrake. “How do we get people to understand why we need this new technology?” Several speakers at the Ag Issues Forum presented different ways to tackle that issue.
Julie Borlaug, granddaughter of Norman Borlaug, said those who oppose agricultural innovation must face the reality of not adopting this technology, and that reality is that millions of people will die of starvation and entire nations will remain in poverty. “We have to stop arguing with science and use emotion to reach people,” said Borlaug. “We need to shorten and dumb down the argument.” She added agriculture has let those who oppose biotechnology get in front of this issue and how agriculture must play catch up. She said the ag community must find a more effective way of communicating the benefits of technology and innovation in agriculture to those outside of the food production system.