Kansas State Panel Outlines Global Food Challenges

Just in case feeding 7 billion people isn’t daunting enough, consider that in the next 30-40 years, the world’s population likely will grow another 2 billion.

“It’s a very large amount of food that we will have to produce in a very short time in order to feed everybody,” said John Floros, dean of the Kansas State University College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension.

Floros noted that even with today’s highly productive agriculture system, 1 billion people do not have adequate food or nutrition.

“(The world’s farmers) will have to produce as much food in the next 40 years as we’ve produced in the history of our planet,” approximately 10,000 years of human existence, he said.

Floros made his comments as moderator of an expert panel that discussed world food challenges at K-State on May 5. The university also hosted an interactive mobile display, Hunger U, in the courtyard of the Student Union, to help connect college students and share the story of agriculture’s role in tackling world hunger.

Producing more food is much more complex than putting more seeds in the ground or raising more livestock. Floros noted that it involves coordinating many food systems, including pre- and post-harvest safety, food science, animal health, processing, nutrition, transportation and more.

“All of these systems are becoming very strained when you look at world resources and the world population,” said Randy Phebus, a K-State professor of food science and one of the panelists. “We’re going to have to become more efficient and much more focused on how we meet these challenges in the future.”

K-State President Kirk Schulz recently announced the university’s global food systems initiative, which signified a move for K-State to become a leader in understanding and improving the world’s food system.

As such, the university’s commitment extends beyond agriculture, food science and nutrition to include such areas as sociology, anthropology, history and more.

“We have been doing this already, but it’s not been packaged in a way that shows the integration of all of our programs across colleges, across departments and now across campuses,” Phebus said.

The soon-to-be-built National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) is making headlines currently, but Phebus noted that K-State has long had facilities conducting research to support food and agriculture, including the Biosecurity Research Institute, K-State Olathe, the O.H. Kruse Feed Mill, veterinary diagnostic labs, the Food Science Institute, the Kansas Value Added Foods lab and more.

Last year, K-State also won three large grants totaling more than $27 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to build facilities and advance science in post-harvest food loss, sorghum and millet development, and wheat genetics.

Dirk Maier, head of K-State’s Department of Grain Science and Industry, is the project leader for the USAID’s Innovation Lab for Post-Harvest Loss. His project is an important piece in feeding the world in the future: one-third of the food produced for human consumption worldwide is lost or wasted somewhere between the farm and the dinner table.

“That’s a huge amount,” said Maier, who was on the May 5 panel at K-State. “I think the message we want to get across is that there’s something each one of us can do with regard to reducing post-harvest loss or food waste in our homes, and in our own ways of thinking about food as a valuable resource like energy and water.”

In the U.S. and other developed nations, 56% of food loss is at the consumer’s level-such as throwing food away in the cafeteria line or in homes. In developing countries, food loss happens earlier in the value chain-such as during production, post-harvest handling and storage.

K-State sociologist Gerad Middendorf is studying differences in food needs between “developed” and “developing” nations.

Many people in the wealthier, industrial world want to know more about where their food comes from and can enjoy the benefits of having more local foods and access to healthier foods.

Developing countries — especially in Latin America, Africa and Asia — rely on land and water to sustain a simple livelihood. About one in eight people (870 million) in developing countries experience chronic hunger.

Floros said K-State’s commitment is about developing a better understanding on how to produce the right amount and type of food that is safe and nutritious, “and getting it to the people.”

“When you put all of this together, with the complexity of the food system…it is extremely important that the decisions we make from here on out are the right decisions,” he said. “One wrong decision can truly take us down the wrong path, and a few years from now we might not be able to produce enough food to feed all the people on the planet.”

More information about K-State’s global food systems initiative is available online at www.ksu.edu/globalfood.

Source: Kansas Ag Connection

Leave a Reply

Management Stories

StewardshipMichigan Agriculture Leaders On Toledo Water Ban: We Want To Be Part Of The Conversation
August 8, 2014
Leaders of Michigan agricultural organizations said Thursday that the government should not have a “knee-jerk reaction” based on last weekend’s water ban in Toledo due to fertilizer run-off in Lake Erie. Read More
ManagementRussia Bans U.S. And EU Ag Product Imports In Ukraine Sanctions Battle
August 7, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin has banned the import of agricultural goods from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia. Read More
EmployeesAsmark Institute Dedicates New Training Center To Ford West
August 6, 2014
The Asmark Institute plans to recognize the retired industry leader's years of service to the fertilizer industry at the new state-of-the-art facility in Owensboro, KY. Read More
LegislationUSDA: Quick Implementation Of Disaster Assistance Programs A ‘Top Priority’
July 9, 2014
USDA has processed 106,000 payments to farmers in 40 states across the country who suffered livestock and grazing losses between Oct. 2011 and passage of the 2014 Farm Bill. Read More

Trending Articles

FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More
EquipmentNew Holland Acquires Miller-St. Nazianz
September 3, 2014
The assets of Miller acquired as part of the transaction will become part of New Holland Agriculture, a CNH Industrial brand, building on a successful four-year partnership between the two companies. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires East Kansas Chemical
September 2, 2014
Ranked 82nd on the CropLife 100, East Kansas Chemical will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
MAGIE 2014 ShowStopper
EquipmentJohn Deere Again Wins MAGIE ShowStopper Award
August 25, 2014
For the second consecutive year, John Deere was honored at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) for its new R4045 sprayer. Read More
ManagementExpert To Discuss Farmland Value, Rent At Farm Science Review
August 18, 2014
While cropland values in Ohio increased in the past two years, they have remained flat in 2014, declining in some cases, according to an Ohio State University agricultural economist. Read More

Latest News

Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
Many new products were introduced to the ag retail marketplace this year. From this group, CropLife IRON and its consulting partners have selected five finalists for the Product of the Year award. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
Equipment2014 Farm Science Review Crowd Tops 2013 Show
September 19, 2014
The 52nd annual Ohio State University Farm Science Review welcomed more than 130,000 farmers, industry professionals, FFA students and agricultural enthusiasts during the three-day event. Read More
Seed/BiotechUSDA Approves Enlist Following Rigorous Review
September 18, 2014
Dow AgroSciences now awaits EPA registration of Enlist Duo herbicide, the companion herbicide to the Enlist traits, which is expected in the near future. Read More
BlendersYargus Appoints New Plant Manager
September 18, 2014
Steve Shaffer will direct and coordinate daily operations at the company’s Marshall, IL, manufacturing plant, where the Layco line of material handling equipment is produced. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires Kansas-Based Cedar Ridge Supply
September 16, 2014
Cedar Ridge Supply will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
StewardshipSecretary Vilsack Highlights Innovative Conservation Ef…
September 15, 2014
Nearly $16 million in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIGs) will be awarded to 47 organizations to help develop cutting-edge ideas to accelerate innovation in private lands conservation. Read More
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Responds To Cargill Lawsuit
September 15, 2014
Syngenta believes that the lawsuit is without merit and strongly upholds the right of growers to have access to approved new technologies. Read More
Equipment2014 Farm Science Review Launches Mobile App
September 15, 2014
Smartphone and tablet users planning on attending the 2014 Farm Science Review can now download this year’s customized mobile application. Read More
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Grower Sets Georgia Soybean Yield …
September 15, 2014
Georgia farmer Randy Dowdy's soybeans yielded an astonishing 110.66 bushels per acre, crushing the previous record of 82 bushels-per-acre. Read More
NIMITZ Treated vs Untreated pepper plant
InsecticidesNIMITZ Nematicide Approved By EPA
September 12, 2014
NIMITZ is a novel, non-fumigant nematicide with simplified application features, user safety and an active ingredient with a unique mode of action. Read More
InsecticidesMarrone Bio Innovations Receives Patent For Chromobacte…
September 11, 2014
The patent is the first step for MBI in developing a commercially viable product to inhibit infestations of corn rootworm larvae across America and other regions. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences: Keeping The Pipeline Stocked
September 11, 2014
Dow AgroSciences is embracing product diversity to drive the company’s future. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Is Official Partner Of New St. Paul Ballpark
September 10, 2014
The new ballpark in St. Paul, MN, officially became CHS Field with Twin Cities-based CHS Inc. revealed as the naming rights partner. Read More
EquipmentHagie Honors Farming Stewardship Leaders
September 10, 2014
The Iowa Farm Environmental Leader award recognizes Iowa farmers as environmental leaders that are committed to healthy soils and improved water quality. Read More
Precision AgPlantBeat: Your Plants’ Pulse In The Palm Of Your Han…
September 10, 2014
A new agronomic monitoring and recommendation service from Phytech could rewrite the book on real-time plant health status monitoring. Read More
StewardshipCCAs Making Headway With 4R Program In Lake Erie Wester…
September 9, 2014
Certified Crop Advisers are implementing the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification program in Lake Erie's Western Basin to improve water quality. Read More
MicronutrientsMicronutrients Going Macro
September 9, 2014
Between 2014’s fantastic growing conditions and a heightened awareness on plant nutrition, the major players in micronutrients are gearing up for another big year. Read More
Crop InputsFMC Announces Cheminova Takeover
September 8, 2014
FMC Corporation today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Cheminova, a wholly owned subsidiary of Auriga Industries. Read More