Earth’s population will be close to 10 billion people by 2050. So consider this line from Robert Saik’s “FOOD 5.0″…
“In order to feed the world, we have to grow 10,000 years’ worth of food in the next 30 years, which means farmers worldwide must increase their food production by 60 to 70%.”
If that doesn’t wake you up… probably nothing can. How will farmers do it? Even with today’s technology this it going to take an overwhelming international effort to avoid a mass-starvation.
His first book, “The Agriculture Manifesto – Ten Key Drivers That Will Shape Agriculture in the Next Decade” was a 2014 Best of Amazon Books and this TEDx Talk “Will Agriculture be Allowed to Feed 9 Billion People?” has been viewed over 150,000 times.
In a time where more and more people (in the first world) are demanding to know where their food is coming from and how food is being produced, “FOOD 5.0 How We Feed The Future” should be required reading.
Robert Saik in the Author Hour Podcast:
“Food 5.0, How We Feed the Future was written for an urban audience, more so than a farming audience. My mental image of who I wrote the book for was a 33-year-old mom in a city with some kids who is working and raising her kids.”
“We live in a time now where all the technologies are smashing together–they are converging on the farm to reshape the farm in ways that urban people just simply do not understand. It is happening at a breakneck pace and farms are far more sophisticated, far more advanced than people realize.”
” you’re going to realize and learn a lot about food production and a lot about marketing.”
In FOOD 5.0 How We Feed The Future, Robert Saik examines “how technology convergence is reshaping the farm and the consumer”.
Robert has been hailed as an agriculture futurist with unparalleled insight into where the industry is headed. He’s worked with a variety of agriculturalists from Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture to Bill Gates.
He is the CEO of DOT Farm Solutions, which supports farmers adopting autonomous robotics in broad acre agriculture. He’s also the founder of AG Viser Pro, a platform that Uber-izes knowledge and wisdom, enabling farmers to instantaneously connect with agriculture experts worldwide.
Robert is a passionate keynote speaker and is executive producer of the Know Ideas Media a science based multi-media company addressing issues such as GMO’s and their use in food production. (Know Ideas Media is a partner in Todayville.com/Agriculture)
He serves on several Boards, is an advisor to Olds College, is a member of the A100 (Alberta Tech Entrepreneur Network), a student of Strategic Coach and Singularity University and a member of Abundance 360. As a partner in Perigro Venture Partners he participates in early stage technology investments.
He been recognized for agriculture leadership by the Alberta Institute of Agrologists (Provincial Distinguished Agrologist of the Year) and in 2016 was awarded Canadian Agri-Marketer of the Year by the Canadian Agri-Marketing Association.
Here’s a story produced by Todayville on Robert’s visit to Seattle to brief Bill Gates.
New grain dryer program for farmers hit with tough harvest
New grain dryer program for farmers hit with tough harvest
February 10, 2020
A new grant program is now available to help grain farmers upgrade their grain handling systems.
The Efficient Grain Dryer Program is funded through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership and will help cover costs for eligible grain dryer improvements. Applicants will be able to choose equipment that makes sense for the size and volume of their agri-business and improve energy efficiency within their operations.
“I have a deep appreciation for the efforts being made by Canadian farmers to care for the land and environment. It is their legacy to their children. A sixth generation farmer recently told me, ‘if you don’t care for the land, you’re not in business.’ We all know how hard 2019 was for many farmers, and that weather is increasingly unpredictable. Our government is listening and finding solutions for farmers.”
“Last harvest was one of the toughest for Alberta farmers. Poor weather, trade irritants, rail strikes and a carbon tax have all hurt farmers through no fault of their own. This new program will help farmers remain competitive and keep producing the best high-quality food in the world.”
The program will be retroactive to April 1, 2018 to accommodate almost 100 applicants who have been waiting since that time and for those who may not have known about the program and purchased eligible equipment in the last two years.
- $2 million dollars is available under the Efficient Grain Dryer Program.
- The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3-billion commitment by federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sectors.
- Eligible expenses will be cost-shared, with 50 per cent funding from the grant and 50 per cent funding from the applicant.
- The 2019 crop season was challenging for many Alberta producers.
- The season started with a dry spring and with variable weather over the summer. There was a lack of rainfall in the southern and eastern parts of the province and the extreme northern Peace Region, for example, and a long spell of cool, wet weather in other parts of the province.
- Cold temperatures, snow and excess moisture in most parts of the province in the fall resulted in a long challenging harvest for crop and forage producers.
- Based on the final Alberta Crop Report dated Dec. 3, about 10 per cent of crops across Alberta were left in the fields to be harvested in spring 2020.
- Unharvested crops vary widely across the province – about two per cent remain in the fields in the southern region, seven per cent in central and northwest Alberta and 13 per cent in the northeast. In the Peace Region, about 32 per cent of crops are left to be combined in the spring.
What the USMCA Might Mean for Agriculture and Biotechnology?
We welcome guest writers to all of our Todayville platforms. Here’s a submission from Emily Folk. Emily is passionate about agricultural sustainability and more of her work can be found on her site, Conservation Folks. In this story, Emily Folk explains the USMCA Impact on Agriculture.
What Could USMCA Mean for Agriculture and Biotechnology?
The United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) has been in the news a lot lately. The leaders of the respective nations signed the trade agreement on November 30, 2019, and ratification is pending. You can think of the USMCA as an updated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to renegotiate NAFTA after publicly speaking unfavourably about it. The USMCA is the result of that vow. The agreement spans several areas, such as the origin of automobile parts and new labor laws in Mexico that make it easier for workers to unionize. The USMCA also has a “sunset clause” that makes its terms expire after 16 years. Plus, every six years, the leaders of the countries involved must agree on whether to extend the deal.
Some agriculture-specific stipulations also exist within the USMCA. Additionally, the agreement notably mentions biotechnology. Here’s a closer look at how the USMCA might change these two industries.
More Exporting Opportunities for Farmers
One of the key points often mentioned about the USMCA is that parties expect the agreement to cause a $2 billion increase in U.S. agriculture exports, triggering a $65 billion rise in U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Canada and Mexico are currently the top two exporting markets for American farmers, supporting more than 325,000 American jobs. In 2018, the food and agricultural exports destined for Canada and Mexico totaled more than $39.7 billion.
The USMCA also opens exporting opportunities that did not exist before. Now, U.S. dairy farmers will have expanded access to send products such as fluid and powdered milk, cheese and cream to Canadian parties. There will also no longer be U.S. tariffs on whey and margarine. This change is notable, considering the Canadian dairy market produced roughly 17% of the United States’ annual output over the past three years.
In exchange, Canada will give the United States new access to chicken and eggs, plus increased access to turkey. Plus, all other agriculture products traded between the U.S. and Mexico will be under a zero-tariff model.
Moving Forward With Agricultural Biotechnology
Another improvement associated with the USMCA is that it looks at agricultural technology more broadly than other trade agreements have.
For example, the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a proposed trade agreement between 12 nations — only addressed biotechnology regarding recombinant DNA (rDNA). That process involves joining the molecules from two different species, then inserting the product into a host to create new genetic combinations. Instead, the USMCA opens possibilities for all kinds of agricultural technology, including gene editing. Moving ahead with biotechnology could be crucial for addressing pressing matters that affect agriculture, such as water scarcity.
Approximately 700 million people suffer from water scarcity, and that number could double by 2025. Also, the agriculture industry is the greatest user of water. Things must change — both to address the growing water scarcity problem and to give farmers more options for growing things without using so much water.
Biotechnology has already helped, and it seems highly likely to continue spurring progress. In one example, scientists altered the expression of one gene common to all plants. This change led to a 25% increase in the plants’ water-use efficiency without adversely impacting yield or photosynthesis.
As part of the USMCA, Mexico, Canada and the United States agreed to improve information sharing and cooperation about biotechnology matters related to trade. That change could speed new developments, resulting in positive outcomes for all involved groups and the world at large.
Fairer Agricultural Grading Standards
A grading system for agricultural products defines trading procedures. For example, commercial buyers of a product grown in another country refer to the grading standards to set expectations about a product’s quality. The USMCA specifies that Canada will evaluate U.S. imported wheat and assign it a grade no less favourable than it would give Canadian-grown wheat.
Canada will also no longer require country of origin statements associated with inspection certificates or quality grades. The United States and Canada will discuss issues related to seed regulations under the USMCA, too.
Concerning Mexico and the United States, the two countries agreed to non-discriminatory grading standards and services. Moreover, a dialogue will begin between the two countries to flesh out the details for quality standards and grading regarding trade.
A Promising Future
It’s too early to say what the real-life effects will be of the changes outlined here. But, the commitments laid out within the USMCA seem like they’ll represent clear improvements for agriculture professionals, as well as everyone who benefits from their goods.
I’m Emily Folk, and I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. Growing up I had a love of animals, and after countless marathons of watching Animal Planet documentaries, I developed a passion for ecology and conservation. You can read more of my work by clicking this link: Conservation Folks.
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