Steve Kopperud is the senior vice president of Policy Directions, Incorporated, a Washington, D.C. government affairs company that specializes in feed, animal production, agriculture, agri-business, animal health, food farm policy, trade and ag research and health-related issues.
President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Iowa’s former Gov. Tom Vilsack to be his secretary of agriculture. Vilsack was an excellent choice, but some have criticized the appointment because he supports agricultural biotechnology and commercial agriculture. The critics assume that anyone who holds these views is an enemy of organic farming and sustainable agriculture. We disagree.
Norman Borlaug, a Nobel laureate and father of the Green Revolution, has concluded that the world will have to produce more food in the next 50 years than it has in the last 10,000. That is an extraordinary challenge. How does the world do it?
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February 19, 2009
Honorable Tom Vilsack
Secretary of Agriculture
U. S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack:
As Americans, we are both proud of our great nation and concerned for its future. We are facing catastrophic economic times and difficult environmental challenges. We offer a solution that addresses food prices, food security, energy conservation and global warming, thus supporting our economic revitalization and future environmental sustainability. We feel that we need to inform and educate the American people that the food produced using modern technologies in the United States is safe, wholesome and nutritious.
We are the American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology (AFACT), an organization of farmers who are concerned that, according to the latest USDA annual report on food security, nearly 700,000 children in the United States went to bed hungry in 2007. We know our social services and WIC programs are being challenged. We are concerned as to how we will feed the global population over the next 40 years as our numbers increase from 6.7 billion people to 9.2 billion people, while the U.S. population grows from 307 million to 377 million. Furthermore, millions of people around the globe will demand increased milk, meat and eggs in the years to come to fulfill their desire for high-quality proteins in their diets.