Issue: Feeding the World
“To feed the several billion people living on this planet, the production of high-quality food must increase with reduced inputs...although more food is needed for the rapidly growing human population, food quality also needs to be improved, particularly for increased nutrient content.”
Mark Tester and Peter Landridge
Science, February 2010
Most of us are aware of the importance of managing the impacts of human activities on the environment and the potential of our daily activities to affect air quality, water quality and even climate.That issue is difficult today, but with the world population expected to increase from 6.5 billion to 9 billion by 2050, sustainability will be an increasing challenge.
As regions like Asia and South America continue to develop and their populations become more affluent, they are demanding not just more food, but better food, including more meat and dairy products. Can farmers meet the biggest challenge of all: finding a way to feed 2.5 billion more people over the next 40 years, without significant new land and water resources and without impacting the environment?
A recent article in the journal Science suggests this challenge can be met, if farmers, food processors, researchers and governments work together. In an article called “Food Security: The Challenge of Feeding 9 Billion People,” the authors conclude that the answer to meeting the needs of the future is to encourage and reward innovation and efficiency toward creating more food from the same land and resources.
California dairy families have shown they can continue to be part of the solution for challenges like this. Not only are dairy products rich in a variety of important nutrients, U.S. farmers have a long history of steady increases in production efficiency and milk quality, while reducing environmental impacts. Today, California dairies remain among the most efficient in the world, even as they go the extra mile in environmental protection, animal care and resource conservation. California dairy families produce one-fifth of our nation’s milk supply and remain committed to ensuring that our nation and our neighbors can count on us for reliable, affordable and high-quality dairy products for generations to come.