world’s population is projected to climb from approximately 7 billion today to more than 9 billion by 2050.To put it bluntly, our world has a problem. We must double the food supply – double what we produce today in the next 40 years, and do so in a sustainable manner if we are to feed tomorrow's global citizens.Consider that by the time I finish my remarks this morning, about 4,500 people will have joined the ranks of the global population. That's 9,000 new inhabitants of the earth every hour!
30 percent more mouths to feed
we must double output with basically the same amount of land, water and other inputs such as fertilizer.Agriculture will be called on to produce more food than in the previous 10,000 years, with little or no increase in resources.Many people don't realize that much of the world's productive agricultural land is already in use. While incremental acreage can be brought into production, it tends to be less fertile, more costly to farm, and often less suitable for sustainable agriculture.
Clean water is also becoming increasingly scarce – both for urban and industrial needs, as well as for agriculture irrigation. Water scarcity already affects a significant portion of the population on every continent. Expanding industrialization and urbanization further increases the competition with agriculture for available fresh water.
For example, you might be surprised to learn that today's large John Deere tractors have more lines of software code than early space shuttles!In fact, our GPS technology can guide a tractor and implement in the field with near-perfect precision. This means less overlap in tillage and chemical application, saving time and money and minimizing environmental impacts.