Protecting Agriculture’s Ability To Feed The World

The rate of change coming to agriculture is growing, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This was the message delivered by Rob Saik, CEO for AgriTrends, to Mid America CropLife Association attendees at the group’s 2016 annual meeting. “The rate of change will only get faster,” said Saik. “Standing still is death.”

But before considering the future, Saik spent time reflecting on agriculture’s recent history. In particular, he focused on many of the decisions being forced upon the industry based largely on emotion. “I believe that the non-science movement is the greatest threat we have to global food security today,” he said. “I’ve been asked ‘can agriculture feed nine billion people?’ and I’ve answered ‘the real question is will agriculture be ALLOWED to feed nine billion people?’”

To illustrate this point, Saik pointed to the continuing battle between modern agricultural practices/proposals and legislators in the countries of the Europe Union (EU). “Europe is quickly becoming the museum of farming because of the Draconian legislation going on regarding agriculture,” he said. “I don’t care if you are talking about meat, seed, fertilizer, or whatever – it’s all under attack.”

How should agriculture talk to the public about its business?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

In particular, Saik added, EU consumers have a decidedly negative view of anything sporting the name genetically-modified (GM), rejecting all such efforts to improve the food supply as “bad.” But this overlooks many facts of modern life, and the role GM has played in it. “If you know someone who’s diabetic and takes insulin such as Humalog to stay alive, which is probably derived from GM technology, yet people protest against using all GM products,” said Saik. “The Economist magazine recently pointed out that the number of children under the age of five that have died of malnutrition over the last few years is more than one million. But the number of people who have died from eating GM crops, ever, is zero.”

Unfortunately, this non-science movement has made its way into the U.S. as well, especially when it comes to labeling legislation in states such as Vermont. “Vermont is known for its cheese, and 90% of hard cheeses in the U.S. today contain a GM product – a coagulant used to make them comes from using GM technology,” said Saik. “Yet when Vermont recently passed its new anti-GM labeling law, it hypocritically exempted cheese.”

To fight back against this non-science movement, Saik suggested that anyone involved in the agricultural marketplace become educated on GM science and share this information with anyone that will listen. “We have to start shouting out of the darkness and standing up for what we know is true,” he said.

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Protecting Agriculture’s Ability To Feed The World

  1. I have been talking with the non-Ag public for about 7 years, now, on Facebook. My “friends” have been very patient as I have tried different approaches to Ag education. Some of my “friends” are pro-organic, rabidly against GMOs and generally anti-technology. Most assuredly, shouting at them from the darkness, which is what I did initially, was not helpful. Instead, I shifted the discussion to celebrating the luxury of having food choices and talked about the miracle of abundance that is our food supply, and the need to work to increase food supplies to those less fortunate.They were hungry to hear about the miracle of agriculture. That changed the dialog. It was only then that I could use scientific data and stats. Subesquently, we have had some stimulating and useful dialogs. We have all learned something.

Eric Sfiligoj Stories

Young Corn Plants
Eric SfiligojLaunching New Seed Traits: Wait on China . . . Or Else!
June 26, 2017
In life, no one likes the waiting game. In agriculture, however, playing the waiting game is very important – especially Read More
United States Capitol Building in Washington D.C.
Eric SfiligojBudget Battle Agitating Ag
June 5, 2017
President Donald Trump has made waves with many groups when it comes to health care reform, immigration policy, and proposed Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto ‘Picks Its Battles’ by Nixing Deere Deal
May 23, 2017
Having been in the trade journalism game since the mid-1980s, I remember several watershed moments during my career. One of Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
Eric SfiligojRemembering Robert Ratliff
May 15, 2017
With all the fast-paced happenings in agriculture this spring, with multiple mergers in the works and planting season in full Read More
Trending Articles
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
Precision AgPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
Redbanded-stinkbug-on-soybean-Photo-credit-Thomas-County-Ag
Crop InputsExperts: Mild Winter, Early Planting Will Increase Soybean Insect Threat
June 12, 2017
Higher than average temperatures this past winter affected much of the nation, especially the South and Midwest. The National Centers Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto ‘Picks Its Battles’ by Nixing Deere Deal
May 23, 2017
Having been in the trade journalism game since the mid-1980s, I remember several watershed moments during my career. One of Read More
Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Agriculture
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
Eric SfiligojRemembering Robert Ratliff
May 15, 2017
With all the fast-paced happenings in agriculture this spring, with multiple mergers in the works and planting season in full Read More
Case sprayer nozzle closeup
EquipmentSpray Application: A Nozzle Renaissance
May 2, 2017
If you had asked four-decade ag veteran Mark Bartel, President of Wilger Inc., just a few years ago what lay Read More
Latest News
Young Corn Plants
Eric SfiligojLaunching New Seed Traits: Wait on China . . . Or Else!
June 26, 2017
In life, no one likes the waiting game. In agriculture, however, playing the waiting game is very important – especially Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMonsanto Speaks on Dicamba Issues in Arkansas
June 26, 2017
Monsanto’s Chief Technology Officer, Robb Fraley, issued the following statement following the Arkansas State Plant Board’s proposal to ban dicamba, Read More
Corn Field
Seed/BiotechCorn Insect Bt Technologies Offer Cost-effective, Proac…
June 26, 2017
When farm economics are challenging, farmers look for ways to bolster profit margins, including reducing input costs. Some may think Read More
Crop InputsArkansas Plant Board Votes to Ban Dicamba — Now W…
June 23, 2017
The Arkansas State Plant Board has voted to pass a proposed emergency rule to ban the use of in-crop dicamba, Read More
Engenia soybeans
Crop InputsBASF: ‘Closely Monitoring’ Dicamba Situatio…
June 22, 2017
BASF, whose Engenia herbicide is the target of more than 200 drift complaints in Arkansas, emailed the following statement to Read More
ManagementConsolidation Update
June 22, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss progress on manufacturer consolidation, and another big move for Midwest cooperative Central Valley Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
Crop InputsThreat of Dicamba Ban Looms in Arkansas
June 22, 2017
The Arkansas State Plant Board has rejected a proposed ban on the use of dicamba herbicide, but a procedural error Read More
Potash Agrium
Crop InputsAgrium-PotashCorp to become Nutrien upon Merger Complet…
June 21, 2017
Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. and Agrium Inc. have announced today that once the anticipated merger transaction closes, the new Read More
Crop InputsMidwestern BioAg Hosts TerraNu Fertilizer Plant Opening…
June 20, 2017
Last Friday, Midwestern BioAg was joined by over 80 local farmers, media and staff to celebrate the grand opening of Read More
Soybean Field
Industry NewsAligned Ag Distributors Names New President
June 19, 2017
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC announced this morning the appointment of Mary Tolke to the position of President/CEO, effective July 1. Read More
ManagementPlotting Corn, AGCO/Asmark’s Applicator Training Center…
June 15, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about their recent visits to Columbus, OH, and Bloomington, IL, along with an Read More
Seed/BiotechDow AgroSciences Announces Launch of Enlist Corn for 20…
June 14, 2017
Enlist corn will be commercially available in the U.S. for the 2018 growing season. Dow AgroSciences announced the launch today Read More
ASMARK AGCO Applicator Training Center
EmployeesAsmark, AGCO Open Training Center for Beginning Applica…
June 13, 2017
AGCO Corp. and the Asmark Institute have opened a new Applicator Training Center, created in a collaboration between the two Read More
Power to Do More Contest Winners
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Announces Three Winners in Power to Do…
June 13, 2017
Thousands of votes have been cast and three farmers have been awarded the power to do more with a $10,000 Read More
Frogeye leaf spot
FungicidesStrobilurin-resistant Frogeye Leaf Spot Threat Looms wi…
June 13, 2017
Heavy spring rainfall throughout the South and Midwest delayed planting and created the perfect environment for diseases like frogeye leaf Read More
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
Precision AgPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
CHS St. Paul, MN fertilizer terminal
LegislationICGA Praises President Trump’s Remarks on Waterwa…
June 12, 2017
Illinois Corn Growers Association President Justin Durdan, a farmer from Utica, issued the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s comments Read More
Wheat Growers
UncategorizedWheat Growers Names Tracy Linbo as Senior Vice Presiden…
June 12, 2017
Wheat Growers has hired Tracy Linbo as Senior Vice President of Agronomy. Linbo joins Wheat Growers after having served 10 Read More