Ag Technology, Innovations Can Meet Growing Demand For Food

April 27, 2009 07:00 PM

By Catherine Merlo, Western editor for Dairy Today

Agriculture and the food chain face unprecedented challenge as well as opportunity in meeting the growing worldwide demand for safe, nutritious and affordable food, the president of Elanco Animal Health said yesterday.

Jeff Simmons spoke by phone to reporters during a media briefing to highlight a new white paper he has authored titled, "Technology's Role in the 21st Century: Food Economics and Consumer Choice.”

The new report underscores the need for new and existing technologies in food production. Meeting the food economics challenge will require collaboration, choice and technology.

"By 2050, we will need to produce 100% more food than we do now,” Simmons said. "We can't achieve that by merely adding farmland or increasing crop intensity.”

Seventy percent of the increased food must come from efficiency-improving technology.

Worldwide hunger is not just a future problem but one existing today. "Nearly 1 billion people today are hungry,” Simmons said. "That is socially unacceptable.

Joining Simmons on the call was Dr. Tom Elam, an agricultural economist with the Center for Global Food Issues who has worked with the University of Illinois, USDA and private industry during his 35-year career.

Technological advances in nutrition, disease and pest control, plant and animal genetics and livestock management can increase food productivity.

"The consequences of failing to use science-based agricultural technologies and innovations will be disastrous,” Simmons noted. "Food producers in industrialized and developing nations alike require technology to ensure a sustainable supply of safe, nutritious, affordable grains and animal protein to satisfy the rapidly growing demand. That is why we all share the responsibility to make sure new agricultural technologies — as well as those proven safe and effective for decades — continue to be available.”

Read the report at:

Catherine Merlo is Western editor for Dairy Today. You can reach her at 

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