So, feeding 9 billion people has no simple solutions. No single piece of technology, no one new chemical, no one super-productive variety will sustain the planet. It will take a combination of a lot of different technologies to make certain that we have enough food and fiber to meet the needs of 9 billion people.
And I am convinced that the best platform for adapting whatever new system is developed will continue to be the family farm.
In 40 years, the family farm may be bigger, and there likely will be fewer of them. Currently, less than 2 percent of the U.S. population farms. Less than 1 percent actually makes a living from farming and fewer than that account for the bulk of the meat, grains, fruits, vegetables and the fiber we all need.
But family farms have advantages that large, multinational, corporations can’t match. They are devoted to what they do; they are dedicated to providing the safest, most abundant, and the most affordable food supply in the world.
And they are driven by a force that few outside their world can understand—a force that makes them strive to pass along their piece of land to the next generation—and pass it down in better shape than they found it.
They are earth’s best stewards, the strongest conservationists, the people who sustain us. They are family farmers.