The World Food Prize celebration last week included the 2020 laureate ceremony and the Borlaug Dialogue, a global conversation about innovation in agriculture. The theme for this year’s dialogue is “Building Resilience Today for Improved Global Food Systems Tomorrow.”
The Iowa-based World Food Prize (WFP) is considered to be like a Nobel Prize for agriculture. In this season of Nobel Prize announcements, we’re thankful to the WFP Foundation for continuing this celebration of innovation in agriculture. After all, it is because of agriculture that we are able to have the advancements celebrated by the Nobel Prize, whether it’s medicine, literature, economics or peace. Agriculture and food security are the foundation of all human achievements.
Farm Bureau congratulates Ohio State University professor Dr. Rattan Lal, the 2020 World Food Prize laureate.
Dr. Lal’s research on soil health and its role in agricultural productivity and mitigating climate change will help farmers around the world grow food more productively and efficiently. As U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in remarks during the announcement ceremony, “Dr. Lal’s research in soil science shows that the solution to this problem [of feeding a growing world population] is right under our feet.”
The value of research
To continue the type of research carried out by Dr. Lal and others working to increase agricultural productivity today and ensure people around the world have access to food, we must increase investment in agricultural research.
It’s fine to talk about building resilience for improved food systems. It’s something else to make the actual commitment of research funding to achieve it.
We must turn dialog into action. So we’re glad to see the World Food Prize Foundation advocating for the America Grows Act, a bipartisan bill to authorize annual 5% Increases in funding for research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
American farmers and ranchers always have been leaders in innovation, but that leadership role is being challenged as China’s investment in agricultural research grows and U.S. public investment declines.
Just as research and innovation led us out of the challenges of the 20th century, they will be the answer to the challenges we face in this century and beyond — but only if we make the necessary investment in agricultural research. And America’s farmers and ranchers can continue their leadership role only if the U.S. keeps up with investments by other countries. We must not lose our competitive advantage or give up our leadership role to other countries.