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How Do We Grow a Sustainable Food Supply? - 12 March 2013

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Tuesday 12th March 2013.
Sarah Mikesell - TheCropSite Senior Editor

Sarah Mikesell
Senior Editor


How Do We Grow a Sustainable Food Supply?

A few weeks ago I attended the Ag Issues Forum which Bayer CropScience hosted in Florida, USA, for agricultural media just ahead of Commodity Classic – the annual meeting for the corn, soybean, sorghum and wheat associations.

Ag Issues Forum focused on a sustainable supply chain and was packed with thought-provoking speakers. Today, I’ll give you a few highlights from the speakers:

Rich Kottmeyer, Global Agriculture & Food Production Leader for Accenture, described Accenture’s expectations for agriculture in the future. He predicted that by 2050 more than half of the world’s population will be in the middle class. He described a time (now) when the American farmer didn’t really know much about the consumer in India or China, but by 2025, he is growing specifically for them.

Rob Kaplan, Walmart Senior Manager of Sustainability, said “corn is king” for Walmart because so many of their products contain corn, so it’s important for them to always think about how sustainable corn is or can be. He said the Walmart mom spends about 3-5 seconds making her product decision, and Walmart’s goal is to make sure that every product on their shelf is as sustainable as they can get it, so shoppers have a baseline of sustainability performance.

David Epstein, USDA entomologist, spoke about honey bee populations, noting that bees as commercial pollinators are directly valued at $11.7 billion. He also said consensus is building that a complex set of stressors and pathogens is associated Colony Collapse Disorder. Researchers are increasingly using multifactorial approaches to studying causes of colony losses, including varroa mite infestations, nutritional stress and diseases. An interesting factoid: the average lifespan of an adult honey bee worker is only 35 days.

Dr. David Nicholson, Head of R&D for Bayer CropScience, spoke to the group about Bayer’s integrated pipeline that has a peak sales potential of at least 4 billion Euros through 2016. Nicholson said that their approach to R&D includes not only differentiated breeding, traits and traditional chemicals, but also biological products that deliver strong efficacy sustainably.

You may be thinking, they’re a big company, of course they have a pipeline - why do I care? My answer is because Bayer is one of the companies that will, among many things, help solve the building weed resistance problems not only in the US, but around the world. Weed resistance can cost farmers more than $100 an acre, and innovative solutions are needed now.  

A new product that Bayer plans to launch in the soybean market in 2015 in the US and Canada in collaboration with leading trait provider MS Technologies is Balance GT, which offers a double herbicide-tolerant trait stack and features tolerance to both glyphosate and isoxaflutole.

Click here to hear more from Rob Kaplan about Walmart’s sustainability program. And watch Headline News & Analysis for more coverage from the Ag Issues Forum.

Have a great week!

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Global Crop Industry News

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The New Era of Crop Prices - A Five-Year Review
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CME: Corn Futures Closed Higher Tuesday
NFU Delegates Adopt Policy, Convention Adjourns
CME: Corn Futures Closed Lower Wednesday
House Speaker Boehner Pledges Farm Bill in 2013
Indiana Farmland Values to Continue Climbing
DuPont Pioneer Research Yields 132 New Products for 2013 Season
CME: Corn Futures Closed Higher Thursday
John Deere Adds Environmental Sensors to Field Connect
Adequate Land Ranks as Top Concern of Young Farmers
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USDA Grain Review: Support from Lower Dollar, Dow Jones
Exploding Ethanol RINs Prices: What's the Story?
NFU Supports Raising Fuel Storage Level Permit Requirements
The Global Importance of Precision Agriculture
Farmers Who Commit Totally to Sell Locally Can Make a Profit
Renewable Fuel Mandate Expected to Spark Heated Debate
CME: Corn Futures Closed Higher Monday
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   European Union

EU Commission Expects Increase in Cereal Harvest in 2013
Final Push Ahead of Historic CAP Vote
COPA Press For Strong CAP in Run Up to Vote
‘Severe’ Seed Shortages a Priority as NFU Lands Top EU Role


Australia's Total, Export Earnings Forecast to Rise
Water Link Defines New Farm Frontiers
Increasing Australia's Barley Yield with Biodiversity

   Czech Republic

Czech Republic Farm Profit Plummets 25 Per Cent


Cotton Exports Through Wagah Border Altered


Price of Major Farm Produce Falls Further


Croatia Barley Unlikely to Meet Domestic Demand


Monsanto Acquires Plant Trait Developer Rosetta Green
Will Trade Liberalisation Meet Growing Food Demand?
Israel Farmers Call on Government to Prevent Locust Damage to Crops
Increased Wheat Production Seen in 2013
Sprouting Up: The Future of Soybean Farming
Syngenta, Bayer Submit Herbicide-tolerant Soy Product for Review

   United Kingdom

NFU Urges Lords to 'See Sense' Over AWB
Farm Tenants Must Take Care to Avoid 'Subsidy Traps'
Voluntary Initiative Reaches Agreement on Water Protection Progress
NFU, Tesco Discuss Supermarket’s New Pledges
£5.3 Million Bioscience Boost Awarded
AHDB-HGCA Winter Planting Survey Results Published


Government of Canada Supports Innovation for Northern Agriculture


Thai Government to Sell Pledged Rice at a Loss


2013 Grain Markets Impacted by Peruvian Poultry Sector


FAO Supports Transformation of Uganda's Agri Sector

   Korea, South

Korea Increases US DDGS Imports, Mixed Feed Production


Venezuela Agricultural Future Uncertain, Says USGC Director

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