There is an old country song that has the line in it, “If there aint no beer in heaven than I’m not sure I wanna go.” That line came floating up out of my crusty old memory when I saw the conclusions of a recent study from the Stockholm International Water Institute. If you have never heard of this group, neither had I. But isn’t Google a wonderful tool? Any time some group of pointed-headed nitwits — anywhere in the world — publishes a bunch of nonsense about agriculture, Google makes sure I get a copy. I don’t waste my time with many of these, but this one caught my attention because of its title: “Vegetarianism the Only Way to Go in 2050.” Now meatless Mondays are one thing, but no meat at all — that is not a world I want to live in. Published by a group of Swedish water scientists (now that sounds like a fun loving group), the report predicts that by the year 2050 all of us will be living on a diet of leafy green stuff.
The report postulates a scenario we have heard before: the world does not have enough resources to feed the human population of the future. According to the report, “As the world’s population burgeons to around 9 billion in the next 40 years, there will not be enough resources or space to raise livestock to produce meat and dairy products. The current production and eating habits would end up creating a disastrous food shortage for the world.” This apocalyptic vision has been trotted out by group after group who are determined to turn back the hand of progress. The solution, according to the water scientists, is for big government to step in and fix the problem, “With severe agricultural challenges and water management issues, the world’s leaders need to ‘think differently’ and focus on innovative ways to handle the problem.”
About the only thing the authors of this report got right is that innovation is the key to the future. Over the past 100 years, we have seen how innovation has revolutionized food production and agricultural productivity. That kind of innovation is continuing and will allow us to feed the world on the resources we have on this planet. Farmers today are using less land, less water, and less fertilizer than ever before and producing more than ever before. People around the world are eating better, and fewer people suffer from hunger than in the past. A functioning marketplace will provide the economic incentives to keep this innovation on track.
On the same day I got the dire prediction of a meatless world, I got a notice that Dow AgroSciences had entered into a partnership with a firm in Australia to, “Develop novel plant genetics tools designed to increase crop performance for the benefit of farmers in Australia and around the world.” Something tells me these crops of the future will use fewer resources and will be used as feed to produce meat and dairy products. The Swedish report used the drought of 2012 as evidence the world is already having trouble producing enough food to feed itself. The opposite is really the case, the drought showed just how good our genetics and drought-tolerant technology really are. The drought of 1933 resulted in almost total crop loss and beginning of the dust bowl; but, in 2012, US farmers will still produce around a 10 billion bushel corn crop. Much of the new drought tolerant technology performed very well and researchers says future improvements will help crops of the future deal with droughts even better.
So, fellow meat lovers, rest assured there will be meat in our future — as long as we keep socialistic Swedish scientists and their big government reform ideas out of the picture. Last week, my 6 month old grandson started eating solid food. His first bite of pulverized pears was pure delight. I told him, “Just wait until you get some teeth and sink them into a perfectly cooked piece of meat.” Most people in the world want to eat meat, and they will support the kind of innovation and economy necessary to keep meat protein in their diet.
By Gary Truitt