Former South Dakota Senator Thomas Daschle, senior policy advisor at DLA Piper, focused on food security in his presentation at USDA's Ag Outlook Forum in Washington D.C. More specifically, he focused on how food security is a global issue and the challenges feeding a rapidly expanding population and middle class presents. Indeed, he pointed out that every year, the roughly 7 billion inhabitants of the world use the equivalent of "a planet and a half" of resources and the population is growing. To feed this growth, Daschle says "we must increase global food production by 70% by mid-century… and we'll have to do it without more land." Daschle says this is due in part to global warming.
Daschle criticized "short-sighted fiscal policy" and said that more investment into research and development is needed for the ag sector to achieve the technological advances needed to enable farmers to produce more with less. Weathering the "perfect storm" of a rising population with declining resources is possible, but only if we have the "wisdom and discipline" to reform our actions, according to Daschle.
This includes such things as improving transportation in developing countries, reducing the amount of food that goes to waste (30% to 50%), producing food that is of higher quality and nutritional value and supporting advances in the renewable fuels industry. Daschle said innovation will be key to producing more, high-quality food in a way that is sustainable.