Diverse food and ag panel put together by BASF

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BASF put together a diverse panel of individuals to discuss food and agriculture during a recent media event held at Durham, N.C.

Panelists were Aurelio Pavinato, chief executive officer for an 8,000-acre farming operation in Brazil; Michael “Bo” Stone, Rowland, N.C., farmer; Cat Cora, professional chef seen on various television food shows; Glen Hiemstra, founder and owner of Futurist.com; Julie Guthman, professor of social sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz. Moderator for the panel discussion was Max Armstrong, Chicago agricultural broadcaster.

With such a diverse panel, a variety of facts, opinions and comments about anything and everything food production were made. To give a taste of what was said, the following bucket of paraphrased comments, which panelists didn’t strongly disagree about, is provided as food for thought. The opinions and trivia provided below have limited relationship to each other as topics other than they reference farming and food production:

  • The challenge today is to be able to supply food with a secondary goal of even better quality food.
  • San Francisco is ground zero for locally grown, organic foods.
  • One-half of the food produced in the world never gets to a consumer’s plate.
  • Organic production expansion is down to 7 percent yearly.
  • The U.S. has doubled commodity grains production from about 25 years ago, and grains production will need to double again by 2050.
  • The Food Network and associated “food television” programming has created an interest in foods that was not anticipated 15 years ago.
  • There is an increasing interest in “health apps” for smart phones, which coincides with middle to upper class persons having more interest in eating healthy.
  • Growers have the responsibility to respond to consumer questions about what farmers do and why they do it.
  • We need a balance of commodity and niche crops grown to feed the world.
  • The “food movement” groups are skeptical of the need for technology even when provided information on how and why.
  • Precision agriculture technology is key to sustainability.
  • Production technology is needed to keep food prices reasonable in general. 
  • The full impact of the global climate on agriculture during the next 25 years is still questionable.
  • Ability to produce food to feed the world is not the number one concern, but it is distribution of food and the lost volume at harvest, in storage and while being transported.
  • GMO food labeling will eventually occur and shouldn’t be fought.
  • Agricultural chemicals are seen as extreme toxins around the world, and there isn’t realization that newer chemicals are much more environmentally friendly.

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