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

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
EquipmentAdvance Your Technology IQ At MAGIE
August 13, 2014
The Midwest AG Industries Exposition (August 20-21) is the place you need to be to see, study and evaluate how new advances in the equipment, operations, crop protection and fertility sectors can help your business prosper. Read More
HerbicidesScouting Key To Next Season’s Soybean Herbicide Program
August 12, 2014
When growing soybeans, growers need to think ahead to stay one step ahead of weeds. That means examining weed threats and evaluating which herbicides work best. Read More
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
CropLife 100BRANDT Acquires Lemon Ag Services
August 4, 2014
The acquisition of Lemon Ag fits BRANDT’s aggressive corporate strategy of providing superior agronomic advice and services for customers in central Illinois. Read More

Latest News

Seed/BiotechBerendes Joins Verdesian Board Of Directors
September 2, 2014
Verdesian Life Sciences announced that Robert Berendes has recently joined the company's board of directors. 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
WebinarsWebinars On Demand
September 2, 2014
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches Performance Agriculture Brand
September 2, 2014
Performance Agriculture complements Pinnacle’s existing brands, including Sanders, the company’s flagship farm input retail brand. Read More
Webinars5 Key Benefits Of Attending A Webinar
September 2, 2014
Webinars can provide ag retailers with a convenient option for gaining knowledge on the latest industry issues and solutions. Read More
Crop InputsBASF Is Betting On A Bright Agricultural Future
September 1, 2014
The crop protection products giant is gearing up for a busy time in agriculture by investing in both product production and development over the next couple of years. Read More
Eric SfiligojAn Erie Feeling For Ag
September 1, 2014
Plenty of water issues have been in the news lately, including the continuing drought in California. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires California-Based Retailer
August 29, 2014
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings will acquire Kerman Ag Resources, Inc., which will operate under Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
Allied Cooperative Grain Plant
ManagementArcadia Co-op To Merge With Allied Cooperative
August 28, 2014
Allied Cooperative has announced that members of Arcadia Co-op voted in favor of a merger with Allied Cooperative, paving the way for the consolidation which will be effective on December 1, 2014. Read More
InsecticidesBioinsecticide VENERATE Now Registered In California
August 27, 2014
Marrone Bio Innovations' VENERATE is a new tool to help California growers control crop-damaging insect pests, fight the development of insect resistance and reduce pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables. Read More
CropLife 100Two Iowa-Based Ag Co-ops To Merge
August 27, 2014
The Board of Directors and management of United Western Coop, Missouri Valley, IA has completed a merger with Heartland Co-op, West Des Moines, IA, effective September 1, 2014. Read More
FertilizerKoch Expands AGROTAIN Nitrogen Stabilizer Portfolio
August 26, 2014
Koch Agronomic Services, LLC has added two new innovative nitrogen stabilizers to the AGROTAIN product family – AGROTAIN ADVANCED and AGROTAIN DRI-­MAXX. Read More
Seed/BiotechDuPont To Build Two Seed Treatment Centers
August 26, 2014
DuPont has announced construction on two state-of-the-art centers dedicated to developing and testing seed treatment formulations, applications and seed handling techniques in an important step toward bringing new solutions to growers. Read More
Seed/BiotechLoveland Products Acquires A Controlling Interest In Ag…
August 26, 2014
Loveland Products, a subsidiary of Agrium , has announced the company has acquired a controlling interest in Agricen, a Dallas-area agricultural biotechnology company delivering biochemical-based products for efficient and sustainable plant nutrition. Read More
StewardshipUp Close Look At The 2014 Environmental Respect Award W…
August 25, 2014
The 2014 Environmental Respect Award winners were honored recently at the 24th annual event in Wilmington, DE. Read More
Eric SfiligojAg Science Rejection Carries Consequences
August 25, 2014
As innuendo and fear dog the regulatory process, agriculture can’t get the new tools it needs to combat world hunger. Read More
LegislationFarmers Dismayed As New Farm Bill Dumps Direct Payments
August 25, 2014
The threatened end of cash subsidies to the nation’s row crop farmers dates back through at least the last two iterations of national agriculture policy legislation. 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