Tuesday Talks With Dr. Patterson

December 2014

December 16, 2014

We Must Double Food Production

A common argument put forth by agricultural leaders in academia, government, and business today is that we must double food production in the next 35 years to feed the world’s population, which will grow from its current 7.3 billion to an expected 9.5 billion people by 2050. While the outcome (increased population) and the need (increased food production) are defensible and based on reasoned analysis, I am not sure the argument is motivating the kind of response or creating the sense of urgency that is desired or needed. So what are the factors limiting the effectiveness of this message?

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December 9, 2014

The Problems of Wheat

Grain trade has been a commercial enterprise and a topic of political concern since the time of the early civilizations in Greece and Rome. Indeed, Socrates once said that “no man qualifies as a statesman who is entirely ignorant of the problems of wheat.” So with the largest U.S. corn harvest in history moving into storage or into use and global grain stocks recovering, are there any problems?

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December 2, 2014

Climate Change and Agriculture

Last month, on November 12, President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping surprised the world when they announced a broad agreement to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030. In the agreement, the U.S. pledged to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 emission levels; China pledged to limit growth in emissions by 2030 or sooner and to expand its share of non-fossil fuels used for energy consumption to about 20 percent by 2030. The agreement by these two countries is a significant event. China is the world’s biggest greenhouse-gas polluter; the United States is the second largest contributor. Combined they account for more than one-third of global GHG emissions. At the announcement of the agreement at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, President Obama said that he hopes this agreement will serve to encourage other countries to agree to reduce GHG emissions at the United Nations Climate Conference in Paris in late 2015. (Enoch)

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