ARDEN HILLS, Minn., June 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With almost 1 billion people suffering from chronic hunger and more than 3.5 million children dying from under-nutrition each year, agricultural and food companies must deliver the needed innovations to sustainability produce more food with fewer resources in order to feed a growing global population.
That was a message delivered by Land O'Lakes President and CEO Chris Policinski today during the "Future of Food -- Food Security for the 21st Century" forum taking place in Washington, D.C. The event was hosted by the Washington Post and Slate magazine.
Policinski joined Jason Clay, Senior Vice President, World Wildlife Fund, and Samuel Allen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Deere & Company, on a panel to discuss innovations in sustainable farming, land management and the use of technology in agriculture. He also discussed some examples of how Land O'Lakes -- a national farmer-owned agricultural cooperative – is focusing on sustainable farming practices and innovations in productivity to help feed a growing global population.
Policinski noted that the world's population is expected to grow from about 7 billion people today to more than 9 billion by 2050. Conservatively, experts estimate that food production will need to increase by 70 percent to meet the growing demand.
"This is both an opportunity and a challenge for U.S. agriculture ... as we work to produce more in the face of limited land and water resources," Policinski said. "Looking ahead, only 5 percent more arable land is expected to be brought into production by 2050. And the United Nations predicts that in 25 years, two-thirds of the global population will live in water-stressed countries. Clearly, to feed a growing population, America's farmers – and the world's farmers – will be challenged to produce more with fewer resources and less impact on the environment."
A key will be precision agriculture, Policinski noted. Precision agriculture involves:
- Using technology, insights and production management techniques to deliver the best combination of crop inputs -- not just by fields, but within a field,
- Reducing the need for chemical applications and utilizing more environmentally benign inputs, and
- Enhancing dairy and livestock productivity – delivering more production, while reducing waste – through advances in animal nutrition products and insights.
"U.S. producers have a tremendous track record -- having increased agricultural production by 250 percent over the past 60 years. In fact, today, the average American farmer feeds 155 people, compared to just 10 back in 1930," Policinski noted, citing data from the USDA and American Farm Bureau Federation. "Going forward, we must fully utilize all the tools available to us – technology, modern farm practices and ongoing innovation, to name a few – to help feed the growing population."
Policinski added: "Food security affects us all, because it affects global health, economic vitality and political stability. To put it simply ... a better fed world makes for a better world. The opportunities presented to companies, such as Land O'Lakes, to expand production intersects with an obligation to help feed people in economically disadvantaged areas across America and around the world."
Targeting Hunger – Globally and Nationally
During the forum, Policinski noted that Land O'Lakes has made alleviating hunger its philanthropic focus, and, for more than 30 years, has been a leader in facilitating improvements in agriculture and food systems in the developing world though its International Development division (IDD).
Since 1981, Land O'Lakes' International Development division has engaged in nearly 275 USAID and USDA-funded projects in 80 countries, and has also built or strengthened about 3,000 agricultural cooperatives in the developing world. Through these efforts, more than 1.7 million children have been fed through school nutrition programs since 2001, and Land O'Lakes has shared its agricultural expertise with thousands of farmers in less developed nations.
In the U.S., Land O'Lakes is working to improve food security in both rural and urban communities.
In conjunction with the "Future of Food" forum -- and the annual designation of each June as "National Dairy Month" -- this week Land O'Lakes donated 40,000 pounds of cheese to the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington D.C. This donation is part of the cooperative's First Run Program, which annually provides approximately 600,000 pounds of fresh products to food banks around the country.
"Dairy Delivers" Campaign Celebrates National Dairy Month and Land O'Lakes Members
A co-sponsor of the "Future of Food" forum was the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy members have commenced a series of communications efforts to draw attention to the nutritional benefits of dairy products. As part of that initiative, Land O'Lakes launched a "Dairy Delivers" page on its corporate web site, is actively utilizing social media to get the word out about the benefits of dairy products, and is celebrating the contributions of Land O'Lakes dairy cooperative members.
Along with providing a wide range of information about dairy production and products, the new web page introduces several Land O'Lakes members and focuses on the innovative approaches they're taking to providing these wholesome products to American consumers and customers throughout the world.
To learn more about how Land O'Lakes provides nutritious, wholesome dairy products; how our dairy farmers are committed to sustainability and being stewards of the environment; and how we are helping to feed the world locally and internationally, visit "Dairy Delivers" at: www.landolakesinc.com/dairydelivers.
Land O'Lakes, Inc. (www.landolakesinc.com) is a national, farmer-owned food and agricultural cooperative with annual sales of nearly $13 billion. The nation's second-largest cooperative and number 210 on the Fortune 500, Land O'Lakes does business in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. It is a leading marketer of a full line of dairy-based consumer, foodservice and food ingredient products across the United States; serves its international customers with a variety of food and animal feed ingredients; and provides farmers and ranchers with an extensive line of agricultural supplies (feed, seed and crop protection products) and services. Land O'Lakes also provides agricultural assistance and technical training in more than 25 developing nations
SOURCE Land O'Lakes, Inc.