agriculture, GMO, world population increase

Can We Keep Feeding Everyone?

Recently, it has become common knowledge that the world population is predicted to increase by at least 25 percent in the next twenty years, eventually reaching a population of nearly ten billion by the year 2050. This single factor is the fuel for an increasing number of issues beginning to affect society, one of the most popular being the difficulty of supplying the growing global demand. Although this issue applies in industries across the board, I consider one of the most prominent to be agricultural related. As an agriculture advocate my opinion may be considered biased; however, it is undeniable that farmers and producers solely feed the world, and the crops that producers contribute are essential to all living organisms’ basic survival. Therefore, it is apparent to me and many others that are involved in the agricultural industry how potentially detrimental the supply and demand issues of the future will be on the agricultural industry.

Despite the fact that population growth is the most popular to blame, researchers have suggested that roughly two-thirds of the future food demand increase may rely on the combination of heightened wealth and richer diets that the middle class of America fluctuates with. This means, in order for the planet’s food supply to meet these needs, ranchers will need to grow more than twice as much produce than what’s being grown today by 2050. This poses the question: how can farmers increase their yield enough to feed the world? With the technology of the twenty-first century, producers and consumers are presented with both plenty of options and the education to implement them. For instance, Genetically Modified Organisms are being used to help generate a superior revenue. For years, people have been altering the genomes of animals and plants in substitute for traditional breeding methods to achieve optimal agricultural output.

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Of course, because this approach to farming is seen as unnatural, it has definitely faced a multitude of dispute from society. In fact, people who know relatively nothing about the truth behind GMOs still express their opinion in forms of mass media. There is a woman with a Facebook page called Food Babe that claims her page is dedicated to being a health and wellness website, even stating in her header that she is “hot on the trail to discover what is really in your food”. Ironically, the only thing she actually does is try to convince people that organizations such as Monsanto are killers because of the chemicals they use to genetically modify their seeds. One of her posts even goes so far as to use Monsanto as a scary Halloween Decoration. I realize that it is nearly impossible for all people to agree on any controversial topic, especially one that incriminates as much fear as Genetically Modified foods, but uneducated people who express their sometimes delusional opinions only contribute to a mass of misconceptions throughout society.  The general public does not recognize the hard work and dedication agriculturalists and scientists are implementing to make sure people around the globe don’t lose their source of food.

Although as of today, the issue is not in full effect, on a global scale, people face food deprivation everyday. In places that are diet-rich like North America and Europe, it doesn’t occur to people nearly as often that the need for food is constantly increasing, and has been for the last century. This is putting strains on farmers everywhere to produce more crops, with less land. As the population grows, there has to be a place for all of them to go, so thousands of acres of farmland are being transformed from soil to subdivisions everyday. Considering the lack of land expansion farmers have been privileged with, the agricultural achievements of the last 40 years have been impressive, to say the least. Between grain production, which has increased annually with the human population, and meat production which as consistently produced an adequate supply for the growing population, farmers have done an incredible job at keeping up. There is almost no land available for the expansion of land in the United States, because there is a constant competition between urbanization and rural land use. Therefore, as America has seen many times throughout history, the price of land continues to skyrocket. This is another reason why scientists are striving to make GMOs completely harmless in food production, while convincing the public that the statistics simply don’t lie. GMOs have proven to cultivate a significant rise in yields; therefore, while farmers are losing land and trying to fight off foreign insects, they are the perfect solution.

Coming from a farm family, I do see the changes that the agricultural industry will have to undergo just to meet the demands of the growing population’s need for food. It is also very evident to me that this issue won’t be solved by solely relying on farmers to magically more than double their production within the next two decades, while decreasing their land use. No matter what, an increase in food production will obviously be necessary, but that need for food can be significantly decreased by the public simply changing a few habits. Because this issue does effect both farmers and consumers, it is only logical that both farmers and consumers strive to decrease the offset of the issue. I am not oblivious to the reasons people are uncertain about the use of GMOs in their foods, but farmers have been feeding the world for hundreds of years so needless to say they have a little bit of experience. They are not being carefree, the crops they produce are not just for a job, they are for their livelihood. Society and producers have had an unspoken trust system for centuries, why doubt the men and women that have single handedly fed us our entire lives? I promise you, agriculturalists are not the problem, they are the solution.



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