November 14, 2016
But let’s look at the bigger picture. Are our issues really that illustrious in the grand scheme of life when you look at everything going on around the globe?
It’s easy to look at the issues that face our agricultural economy domestically. But thinking bigger – globally – really brings a perspective that there is more to our industry and gives us a glimmer of hope. So many countries are experiencing food insecurity and we have the ability to provide food security.
With USDA’s recent crop production report showing a nearly 10 percent increase in corn production from last year, we are looking to have a record corn crop, if realized. This is huge for farmers – and a challenge albeit – but it means they are doing all they can, putting heart and soul and resources and technology into growing more food. It means abundant supplies and an even greater need for more markets on a global intensity.
So many people and organizations are expanding and empowering agriculture on a global level. The World Economic Forum has gathered and organized the Global Agenda Council to bring individuals and corporations together to address challenges like food security, sustainable consumption, and health and wellness.
Banks are offering special financing programs to help create jobs and boost agribusinesses across the globe.
The Gates Foundation is helping farming families all over the world produce more food and increase their income, while preserving the land for future generations.
The list goes on and on.
The middle classes of the world’s countries with the largest populations – India, China, Indonesia - are increasing. And as more their population rises to middle class, they can afford more protein. Just this fall, China removed a ban on shipments of some U.S. beef products, opening up the trade for the first time since 2003 as the country sees a surge in imports of the meat. This is excellent for our growing beef supply, but also our large corn supply. The more cattle we can feed here, the more beef we can export to places like China, Japan and South Korea. Beef exports had tremendous year-over-year growth in Japan (up 49 percent year-over-year) and South Korea (up 75 percent), according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
As U.S. farmers and ranchers, we have a challenge to meet the needs of our growing population. Thinking globally does not end with opening markets for U.S. agricultural products. It means collaborating with agribusinesses and food companies all over the world. Helping developing nations. Teaching new technology to farmers young and old. These opportunities are optimistic. Let’s remove our blinders, focus our attention outward, and think globally.