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January 13, 2014

Fight for Technology in Agriculture Rolls On

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

Unlike almost any other industry, in agriculture, technology is sometimes considered a bad thing. Oklahoma State professor Dr. Jayson Lusk talked about why that’s a big problem in the fight against hunger in the future. AFBF’s Johnna Miller has the story.
MillerGenerally if agriculture is compared to Las Vegas it’s because making a go of it is always a gamble, but Oklahoma State professor Dr. Jayson Lusk found another comparison in the famous Las Vegas ad campaign.
LuskWhat happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that, at least historically, production agriculture has operated in much the same way. What happens on the farm stays on the farm.
MillerBut Lusk told a crowd at the American Farm Bureau’s 95th Annual Convention in San Antonio that the days of consumers being content with that are over. Their new interest has led to some criticism of conventional agriculture.
LuskWhat’s being proposed as an alternative? If they don’t like this, then what should we do? And their solution often when you read these narratives about food is that we ought to basically return to nature. Let’s give up all this technology.
MillerBut Lusk said most of those arguments are based on shaky science and are often scare tactics to help sell books and magazines and offer up a romanticized reality of the old days on the farm.
LuskI think if we were honest with ourselves what we’d see is the change in technology has actually been quite positive. It’s given us more food, higher quality food and not only do we spend less income on our food today than our grandparents did, we eat a lot better, too, even if we don’t like to admit it.
MillerBut with 9.6 billion mouths to feed by 2050, Lusk argues that every technology is vital to today’s farmers and ranchers and it’s up to them to prove that to consumers so that technology can continue to help feed the world.
LuskAccording to the United Nations, about 800 million people today in the world go hungry. Most of these people live in the most impoverished places on Earth. If we’re going to talk about morality of food, I think foremost in our minds must be the ability of people, especially the poor, to eat.
MillerAt the AFBF Annual Convention in San Antonio, I’m Johnna Miller.

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