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Technology & Our Food Supply
The 2012 Dairy Forum marked the 27th Annual gathering of dairy producers, suppliers, thought leaders and other agricultural leaders who came together in La Quinta, California to discuss the geopolitics of food and agriculture. The Dairy Forum highlighted many areas, including dairy’s international role, the importance of embracing sustainability as well as the impact of energy and water on agriculture and food production.
The numerous speakers and panels indicated an optimistic outlook for the dairy industry but also pointed out its need to adapt to the numerous opportunities and challenges to which the growing global marketplace will bring. One such challenge highlighted at the Dairy Forum that is central to the mission of the Global Harvest Initiative is the growing global population and resulting consumer demand increase will have on the dairy industry. This increase in consumer demand will require, among other things, a renewed focus on innovation and technology to raise agricultural output in order to feed the 9 billion people estimated to populate the earth by 2050.
Dr. William G. Lesher, Executive Director of the Global Harvest Initiative, was invited to speak on a panel at the Forum entitled, “Technology and Our Food Supply”. The panel addressed the question of the global dairy industry’s ability to sustainably and affordably provide enough output while balancing consumer acceptance of new technology and innovation. This issue represents one of GHI’s five policy priorities which must be addressed in order for the world to abundantly provide for the growing global population in a sustainable way that minimizes resources used.
The “Technology and Our Food Supply” panel, which featured Jeff Simmons, President of Elanco, Mitch Davis, Executive Vice President of Technology and Milk Production for Davisco Foods International, covered issues ranging from food costs and consumer trends to the supply chain challenges of future technologies that will be required to advance the dairy industry. The panel was in agreement that while there was no silver bullet solution, the embracing of new technologies represents one of the biggest opportunities to solve food supply challenges of the future in a sustainable way.