Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager
According to Google, there are more than 270 billion emails sent each day on this planet. Google did not report how many of those emails were spam or reply all. Sometimes I feel like most of those emails land in my inbox. Unfortunately, I can’t just let all of those emails live in cyberspace. I feel the need to print emails to actually read them. If I ever go paperless, the wood and paper industry will go into recession.
One such email I received (and printed) was from the U.S. Census Field Division. Because I printed it, I was able to find it to write this column. The email was a news release that provided projected “populations” in the United States and the world for New Year’s Day 2018. The main message I pulled from the Census Bureau update…
The Population in the World is exploding! Panic! (Don’t panic… I added the panic part)
The world population projection in January was for 4.3 births every second with 1.8 deaths every second. And we make fun of rabbits…
Usually, China and India are “picked on” as being the main culprits of population growth and, yes, they are leading the way. But, the USA is trying to keep up with a growth rate of 5.9% since the year 2010. The US Census Bureau has a “Population Clock” at www.census.gov/popclock that simulates the real-time population growth of the United States as well as the world. Those population numbers on the clock are rolling higher very quickly!
Even while I was writing this article, the population in the U.S. grew about 300 people and the population of the world grew by 8,000…and I don’t write that slowly.
So, of course, the farmers of our farm organization are trying to figure out how to feed these growing groups of hungry people. For decades, United States farmers, as the world’s greatest producers of food, have accepted the responsibility to feed their own families plus their neighbors plus the people of the United States plus people throughout the world.
We have some farmers specializing in local production while other farmers focus on regional or international production. However, each farmer plays an important role today and will play an even a greater role in the future in the feeding of people.
In today’s environment of social media divisiveness and polarization, there’s a tendency to jump on farming bandwagons. “Locally grown is better”. “Farming organic is better”. “Farming conventional is better”. “Pasture raised is better”. “Farming free range is better”. “Farming with biotechnology is better”.
It is time to be open-minded and understand that there is a place for all of these farming methods (and more) as local populations grow, regional populations grow, and global populations grow. For many of the affluent in the United States, people can afford to be highly selective in their food choices. Isn’t it great that we have so many food selection options in this country that people can choose from?
However, there are also people in the United States and certainly throughout the world where the most important part of nutrition is the ability to get some nutrition, including access to vegetables, fruit, protein, carbohydrates, fats/rivers and the various vitamins and minerals that come with food is a necessity rather than a luxury.
I’ve heard that there will be nearly 10 billion people on the planet by the year 2050. That number is difficult for me to put into perspective. However, as I watch the population growth clock spin higher and higher and I visualize people jumping onto this planet, I have to ask myself “Where will the food to feed these hungry mouths come from”
The future of the people of this world will depend on farmers of all types. Let’s support them all.