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Agriculture experts: Farmers will need to double food output by 2025

Bill Jackson
Greeley, Colo.

LOVELAND – The world’s farmers will need to double the amount of food they now produce to feed an expected worldwide population of 8 billion by 2025.

That sobering statistic was presented as part of the 2009 Colorado Ag Classic that drew about 200 people from across the region Thursday. The classic is the joint annual convention of Colorado wheat, seed, corn, sunflower and sorghum producers. It was conducted at the McKee 4-H Building at The Ranch in Loveland.

Participants heard a video presentation by Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, updates by Colorado State University officials including President Tony Frank and Craig Beyrouty, dean of the ag school, and learned how farmers will be asked to help meet budget constraints in the coming years by Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture John Stulp.

In her presentation, Jennifer Ozimkiewicz, new business development director for Monsanto, said there “are some tough challenges in agriculture for all of us to face” in meeting the world’s future food demands. In seven of the past 10 years, she said, the world has consumed more wheat than it has produced, resulting in a shortage of stored supplies.

Adding to the problem, she said, “there are, as of last year, more people living in cities around the world than in rural areas,” which means there are fewer farmers producing food. In the United States, CSU’s Beyrouty said, only 1 percent of the nation’s population is involved in food production, which offers a wide range of job opportunities for graduating college students.

Monsanto, Ozimkiewicz said, has evolved from an agriculture chemical company founded about a 100 years ago, into one that now spends about 95 percent of its budget on research and development on biotechnology and seeds – seeds that are drought, insect and weed resistant which then produce a healthier, higher yielding crop. That work, as an example, will allow the world’s farmers to go from an average yield of 140 bushels per acre of corn to 300 bushels per acre within the next 10 years.

The next North American hybrid corn seed, she added, will come as the result of 200 Monsanto seed breeders working at various locations around the world, “and probably won’t come from a corn now grown in North America.”

Vilsack, in his video presentation, vowed to do what he can to strengthen the nation’s agriculture economy, meet the credit needs of farmers, particularly those in northern Colorado hit hard by the failure of the New Frontier Bank of Greeley, and work on new energy legislation which he said will benefit the nation’s farmers and ranchers.

Stulp said farmers and ranchers will pay sales taxes on certain items they have been exempt from in the past, for the next three years, which is projected to generate $4.4 million in additional revenue to the state per year.

“I know it’s not a good time to increase fees, but when is the time good to increase fees?” Stulp asked.

LOVELAND – The world’s farmers will need to double the amount of food they now produce to feed an expected worldwide population of 8 billion by 2025.

That sobering statistic was presented as part of the 2009 Colorado Ag Classic that drew about 200 people from across the region Thursday. The classic is the joint annual convention of Colorado wheat, seed, corn, sunflower and sorghum producers. It was conducted at the McKee 4-H Building at The Ranch in Loveland.

Participants heard a video presentation by Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, updates by Colorado State University officials including President Tony Frank and Craig Beyrouty, dean of the ag school, and learned how farmers will be asked to help meet budget constraints in the coming years by Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture John Stulp.

In her presentation, Jennifer Ozimkiewicz, new business development director for Monsanto, said there “are some tough challenges in agriculture for all of us to face” in meeting the world’s future food demands. In seven of the past 10 years, she said, the world has consumed more wheat than it has produced, resulting in a shortage of stored supplies.

Adding to the problem, she said, “there are, as of last year, more people living in cities around the world than in rural areas,” which means there are fewer farmers producing food. In the United States, CSU’s Beyrouty said, only 1 percent of the nation’s population is involved in food production, which offers a wide range of job opportunities for graduating college students.

Monsanto, Ozimkiewicz said, has evolved from an agriculture chemical company founded about a 100 years ago, into one that now spends about 95 percent of its budget on research and development on biotechnology and seeds – seeds that are drought, insect and weed resistant which then produce a healthier, higher yielding crop. That work, as an example, will allow the world’s farmers to go from an average yield of 140 bushels per acre of corn to 300 bushels per acre within the next 10 years.

The next North American hybrid corn seed, she added, will come as the result of 200 Monsanto seed breeders working at various locations around the world, “and probably won’t come from a corn now grown in North America.”

Vilsack, in his video presentation, vowed to do what he can to strengthen the nation’s agriculture economy, meet the credit needs of farmers, particularly those in northern Colorado hit hard by the failure of the New Frontier Bank of Greeley, and work on new energy legislation which he said will benefit the nation’s farmers and ranchers.

Stulp said farmers and ranchers will pay sales taxes on certain items they have been exempt from in the past, for the next three years, which is projected to generate $4.4 million in additional revenue to the state per year.

“I know it’s not a good time to increase fees, but when is the time good to increase fees?” Stulp asked.


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