Ag Solutions Summit: Producing More With Less

Just looking at the pure statistics, the numbers appear daunting. Based upon the best projections, the world’s population will include an additional 2.5 billion people within the next 40 years. Naturally, all these additional individuals will need to eat, which puts pressure on the globe’s growers to double their crop yields and food production by 2050.

Making this population boom even more difficult to manage, food-wise, will be its make up. “This will be an aging and growing population,” said Markus Heldt, president, Crop Protection Division for BASF SE. “Most of these consumers will have higher incomes, which will lead to a changing diet where they eat more meat than today. More meat demand will mean more grain demand.”

To address this topic at length, BASF Corp. gathered many experts for its Agricultural Solutions Summit. Held in Chicago in June, the summit looked at the issue of feeding a growing population while at the same time preserving the planet’s resource and energy consumption. According to Dr. Peter Eckes, president, BASF Plant Science, this means adopting sustainable agricultural practices.

“Sustainable agriculture is a complex and difficult topic, but our definition is pretty simple,” said Eckes. “We are talking about farming solutions that maintain the right balance between economic success, environmental protection and social responsibility. We want to help growers achieve more yields on the same amount of land using less water and less energy. But we also want them to maintain their way of living.”

Naturally, said Paul Rea, vice president, U.S. crop operations for BASF, growers are at the heart of this movement. “Growers today are at a crossroads,” said Rea. “They have a tremendous production challenge ahead of them, but at the same time, they are getting squeezed by regulations and the desire to be more efficient.”

Consumer Views

Somewhat surprisingly, consumers don’t represent a barrier to growers achieving this goal. According to a BASF survey of 400 consumers and 116 growers, there is more trust and optimism among consumers than many general media portrayals might suggest.

“Consumers trust growers more than growers probably expect them to,” said Rea. “This is a strong foundation that the agricultural industry can build on in its goal to improve trust and align priorities even further.”

According to the survey results, consumers take an optimistic view of farmland stewardship practices and believe the industry will continue to improve sustainability efforts. Similarly, when asked to gauge their own priorities and views on environmental stewardship, growers also held a positive view.

Other highlights from the survey included the following:
•  Both growers and consumers feel farmland stewardship practices are better now than 10 years ago, and will continue to improve during the next 10 years.
•  Consumers think growers place more emphasis on environmental impact when they select crop protection products than growers report of their own behavior in decision-making.
•  Consumers feel that growers are receiving crop inputs from trustworthy sources.
•  Growers place top priority on effectiveness and cost when selecting a crop protection product.

“In the end, it comes down to consumers having trust in growers, both to provide a safe food supply and to have minimal impact on our environment,” said Rea. “We can help strengthen this trust by providing growers with the information and support they need to make sure that consumers are informed with the right information.”

Biotech Aids

Part of this effort needs to focus on biotech crops and their contribution to sustainable agriculture, said several speakers. Based upon the data, biotech crop use in the U.S. has already added significantly to the nation’s yield number, producing an additional 40.9 million tons to the country’s corn supply during 2008. “Without the use of biotech crops, U.S. growers would have had to plant an additional 11.4 million acres of corn, 8.6 million acres of soybean and 5.4 million acres of cotton to achieve the same yields,” said Eckes. “Also, the equivalent CO2 emissions saved in 2008 through less tillage with biotech crops was like removing 6.9 million cars from the road.”

In the future, biotech crop developments should help sustainable agriculture by addressing one of the industry’s most pressing challenges: Water use. According to the statistics presented at the summit, 70% of the world’s fresh water goes into farming, 38% of the world’s land area has some level of drought exposure and irrigated land accounts for 40% of global food production. “Growers will not be able to use 70% of the world’s water going forward because of population increases in the world’s major cities,” said Robert Thompson, former gardner chair, agricultural policy for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

To this end, the industry is expecting to see the first drought-tolerant biotech crops beginning in 2012. Further­more, said Eckes, BASF will continue working in the area of seed development.

“We will develop the best traits for the best seed, promote leading technology platforms in gene discovery and product development up to market introduction,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Crop Inputs Stories

Untreated soybean seed Heartland Coop
Seed/BiotechMarrone Bio Innovations, Groundwork BioAg Bio-stacked Microbial Seed Treatments Result In Increased Yields
February 13, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. and Groundwork BioAg, Ltd have announced successful seed treatment field trials of the world’s first all-biological Read More
Fertilizer Storage
Crop InputsThe State Of The Fertilizer Industry
February 9, 2017
He’s all hat, no horse.” It’s a humorous way of describing a person who tells a good story, but is Read More
Corn Field
InsecticidesArysta LifeScience, DuPont Collaborate On Rynaxpyr Premix Formulations
February 8, 2017
Arysta LifeScience recently announced that it has entered into a global collaboration with DuPont Crop Protection for the development of Read More
World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit Panel 2016
Crop InputsWorld Agri-Tech Innovation Summit To Be Held In San Francisco
February 8, 2017
“Breakthrough Applications and Business Models for Sustainable Farming” is the theme of the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit to be held Read More
Trending Articles
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Latest News
SprayersApache 1000 Series Sprayer Earns 2017 EquipmentWatch Hi…
February 21, 2017
ET Works has been named a winner in the 2017 EquipmentWatch Highest Retained Value Awards program, the industry’s only award Read More
Measuring Bulk Tanks
StewardshipMeister Media Among 2017 Award Winners Presented By The…
February 21, 2017
The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance (TPSA) held its annual conference in San Diego, CA, earlier this month where three awards were Read More
John Reifsteck
CropLife 100GROWMARK’s Reifsteck Earns NCFC Director Of The Y…
February 21, 2017
GROWMARK Chairman of the Board and President John Reifsteck has earned the prestigious Director of the Year Award from the Read More
Roy Blunt
LegislationARA Recognizes Blunt, Heitkamp For Legislative Efforts …
February 17, 2017
Agricultural industry continues to face federal regulatory challenges. Thankfully, agriculture’s allies in the U.S. Senate stepped forward. The Agricultural Retailers Read More
LegislationThe Fertilizer Institute Commends Senate On Confirmatio…
February 17, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President Chris Jahn issued the following statement on the Senate confirmation of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Read More
Trump, Senate, Cabinet
LegislationBREAKING: Trump EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Confirmed by S…
February 17, 2017
Scott Pruitt, who as Oklahoma’s attorney general spent years suing the Environmental Protection Agency over its efforts to regulate various Read More
ManagementFebruary Road Trip Edition
February 17, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent visits to Indiana and Kentucky. Read More
Heritage Cooperative Finished Building Aerial
ManagementHeritage Cooperative, Agland Co-op Approve Merger
February 17, 2017
Agland Co-op and Heritage Cooperative stockholders have both approved the merger agreement between Agland Co-op and Heritage Cooperative. Now begins Read More
LegislationARA Fly-In: Ag Retail Descends on Capitol Hill, Lawmake…
February 15, 2017
More than 100 agricultural retailers, distributors and suppliers headed to Capitol Hill Tuesday morning for the Agribusiness Congressional Fly-in, according to a Read More
Untreated soybean seed Heartland Coop
Seed/BiotechMarrone Bio Innovations, Groundwork BioAg Bio-stacked M…
February 13, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. and Groundwork BioAg, Ltd have announced successful seed treatment field trials of the world’s first all-biological Read More
NL5000 With G5 Technology
SpreadersNew Leader Introduces NL5000 Dry Nutrient Applicator Wi…
February 13, 2017
New Leader, a division of Highway Equipment Company (HECO), has announced the next generation of spreading technology with the NL5000 Read More
Fertilizer Storage
Crop InputsThe State Of The Fertilizer Industry
February 9, 2017
He’s all hat, no horse.” It’s a humorous way of describing a person who tells a good story, but is Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Agrees To Credit Agreement Amendme…
February 9, 2017
Pinnacle Operating Corp. has entered into an amendment (the “Amendment”) to its First Lien Credit Agreement that will provide for, Read More
ManagementUpdates on Upcoming Trips, Dow-DuPont, and the Des Moin…
February 9, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj review a few future travels, along with the latest on big company mergers and Read More
Championship Tractor Pull
EquipmentNational Farm Machinery Show Highlighted By Championshi…
February 9, 2017
The scream of monster engines, the stench of burning rubber and the ground-pounding vibrations of the country’s largest, loudest and Read More
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
Corn Field
InsecticidesArysta LifeScience, DuPont Collaborate On Rynaxpyr Prem…
February 8, 2017
Arysta LifeScience recently announced that it has entered into a global collaboration with DuPont Crop Protection for the development of Read More
Industry NewsThe Fertilizer Institute Board Elects New Chairman, Vic…
February 8, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute’s (TFI) Board of Directors has elected Chuck Magro, President and CEO of Agrium, and Tony Will, President Read More