Expert Panel: Future of Ag Productivity Depends on Technology

Farmer Gene

An eminent panel of science and policy experts braved a historic blizzard today to identify solutions for the greatest agricultural challenges of all time.  The global dialogue comes in response to a final call for action from the late Nobel Laureate, Dr. Norman Borlaug, to feed the world and improve the lives of farmers, all while preserving natural resources.

Now Serving: 9 Billion:  A Global Dialogue on Meeting Food Needs for the Next Generation highlighted the opportunities and challenges facing farmers and nations in the coming century, especially as global population continues to rise, resources become more scarce, and climate and pest pressures continue to mount.  Participants from over 30 countries on four continents shared their thoughts and perspectives with the panel of experts as part of this global dialogue.  

Moderated by Emmy-Award winning journalist Frank Sesno, the event was hosted by CropLife International, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST). 

Panelists included Nina V. Fedoroff, Ph.D., Science and Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State and to the Administrator of USAID; Mark Cantley, former head of the European Union’s “Concertation Unit for Biotechnology in Europe” and of OECD’s Biotechnology Unit; Gale Buchanan, Ph.D. former U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics; Robert Paarlberg, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College and a leading expert on international agricultural and environmental policy; and, Calestous Juma, Ph.D., Professor of the Practice of International Development and Director of the Science, Technology and Globalization Project at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. 

“While there is no single solution to the agricultural challenges we are facing, innovations in farming and plant sciences, and a commitment to continued research into new technologies, will be crucial to helping achieve food security” noted Denise Dewar, Executive Director of Plant Biotechnology at CropLife International, a global federation representing the plant science industry. “Today’s global dialogue was an opportunity to consider new ground-breaking perspectives on agricultural policy for the 21st century.” 

“Cutting-edge science, combined with sound public policy, offers the only real solution to the economic, environmental and nutritional issues confronting both producers and consumers worldwide,” commented Sharon Bomer, Executive Vice President of the Food and Agriculture Section at the Biotechnology Industry Organization. 

A new report from CAST, Agricultural Productivity Strategies for the Future: Addressing U.S. and Global Challenges,” was introduced at the event, prefaced by the last published words of the late agronomist and microbiologist Dr. Borlaug. Known as the father of the Green Revolution, Dr. Borlaug is one of only six people to have won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. The new report was designed as an update to CAST Paper No. 1, written by Dr. Borlaug in 1973. 

“Extending Norman Borlaug’s legacy of increasing crop yields through modern farming techniques is critical if we are to keep feeding a growing world,” said John Bonner, CAST’s Executive Vice President and CEO. 

Today’s event, held during an historic snowstorm at the Newseum in downtown Washington, D.C., was also live-streamed to a global audience. Participants were able to ask real-time questions through YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and e-mail. 

The webcast is available for download and continued comment at www.cropnewsnetwork.com.

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