Guest Commentary: The Next Generation of Agriculturalists Must Feed 9 Billion People

Posted by on December 4th, 2012 | 0 Comments »

Andrew Lauver is a student in the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the fourth generation to grow up on his family’s farm in Iowa. In 2011 and 2012, he organized small groups of students to volunteer at the Global Harvest Initiative’s GAP Report® release events.

My passion for global agriculture grew exponentially when I attended the World Food Prize in 2011 and 2012, learning more about the global collaboration at work. It was an experience of a lifetime: some of the brightest minds from around the world meeting to discuss their agricultural practices and innovative solutions. This experience has helped shape my view of global agriculture and the leaders who confront our global challenges on a day-to-day basis.

Iowa State students with Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant, ADM CEO Patricia Ann Woertz, and John Deere CEO Sam Allen at the 2011 World Food Prize Symposium with Global Harvest Initiative

Andrew Lauver and Iowa State students with Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant, ADM CEO Patricia Ann Woertz, and John Deere CEO Sam Allen at the 2011 World Food Prize Symposium

While at the World Food Prize, I was able to meet Jim Borel, executive vice president of DuPont; Sam Allen, CEO of John Deere; Hugh Grant, CEO of Monsanto; and Patricia Ann Woertz, CEO of ADM. Meeting these executives as a college student was equivalent to meeting professional athletes for a college student like me who looks up to impactful leaders. I have a great deal of admiration and respect for these leaders, and I made it my goal to learn from their speeches about global agricultural strategy. I am proud to be joining an industry where executives from competitive companies would all sit on a panel to share their views.

While working at the Global Harvest Initiative event, I was able to see our progress toward feeding a hungry planet. When the Global Agricultural Productivity Report® (GAP Report®) was presented, it was fascinating to see the progress being made and the areas of opportunity around the world. I quickly realized that the decisions being made today are going to impact where we will be in 2025. I plan to keep the documents that were provided for listeners in 2011 and 2012 to check our progress as we near 2050.

Iowa State University students with Global Harvest Initiative at the 2012 World Food Prize

Andrew Lauver and Iowa State students at the 2012 World Food Prize Symposium

Aaron Cling, Todd Ramaeker and Dakota Kieffer helped work the 2012 Global Harvest Initiative event as well. As students learning about the challenges we face, the presentation of the GAP Report stimulated conversation amongst us, and we have since spread the word about the opportunities ahead on campus at Iowa State University.

We realize it is up to our next generation of agriculturalists to make sure we are able to feed 9 billion people by 2050. Gaining this global prospective by young people around the world contributes to the missions set forth by leaders such as Henry Wallace and Norman Borlaug. We will need to collaborate with others and look forward to the fun and challenging opportunities ahead. It was encouraging to see the planning, vision and philanthropic ideas that were expressed throughout our time at the World Food Prize.

About the Author:
Andrew Lauver is a senior at Iowa State University majoring in Agricultural Studies. He is originally from Rockwell City, Iowa, and he is the fourth generation raised on his family farm. Upon graduation from Iowa State University in December, Andrew will begin working for U.S. Senator Charles Grassley as a legislative intern in Washington, D.C. He will then launch a career with DuPont Pioneer in June 2013. Follow Andrew on Twitter: @andrewlauver.

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