We have a real dilemma in this country, and it can impact farmers and consumers right here in Trumbull County and all of Ohio.
We are using a fair amount of corn to produce ethanol, which replaces imported oil. There are media and consumer activists that are now saying we are taking food away from those that need it to produce fuel. It's the "food or fuel" debate that has gone on for some time.
So we have the problem of those that are critical of our modern family farms and then those that are saying we don't produce enough to feed our nation and to use for fuel. They are critical of our agriculture regardless of what farmers do.
Those critical of our farms have one big problem. They have never been hungry so they take supermarkets loaded with food for granted. Yes, we need to look at other crops to produce ethanol that don't impact our food supply and much research is being done on those crops. The potential is good.
Local farmers along with those across the nation feel the impact of the criticism coming from the media and book writers and TV specials. Rarely do we see reports and TV programs that present a fair picture of the role of today's professional farmers.
We have another challenge facing us that emphasizes the importance of our farms. The United Nations Food and Agriculture organization reported recently that world food production must increase by 70 percent by 2050 to feed a hungry projected human population of 9.1 billion. Then countries like China, India, Brazil and others will have populations with more money and want higher protein foods and better diets.
To look at the situation another way, FAO projects that agriculture must produce as much food in the next 40 years as it produced in the past 10,000 years to meet global demand, a remarkable estimate.
To meet these challenges of greater demand for food is going to involve using more science and technology and our modern, efficient farms. Estimates are that 90 percent of the increase in crop production is projected to come from higher yields and increased cropping practices with advance technology.
Norman Borlaug, a crop scientist from Texas, is recognized as father of the "Green Revolution." He is credited with saving one billion people with his development of new drought-resistant varieties of rice and wheat, an example of technology at its best.
So, as we look ahead to Christmas with families and friends, keep in mind the job ahead for our farmers. We all want our grand- and great-grandchildren to have the abundance we enjoy. We won't do this by turning our backs on science and new technology and today's efficient farms.
Much of the credit for our abundance today goes to the great land-grant university system we have in this country, such as The Ohio State University. We need to support and strengthen that system.
Parker is an independent agricultural writer and is on the local Farm Bureau Board