Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Agriculture’s Challenge: Feeding and Fueling a Growing World

Farm Foundation's 30-Year Challenge Policy Competition

An essay that argues for a principle-based, rather than a program-based approach to public policy development has been selected as the top entry in Farm Foundation’s 30-Year Challenge Policy Competition.

The competition sought innovative and promising public policy options to address the agriculture and food system challenges outlined in Farm Foundation’s report, The 30-Year Challenge: Agriculture’s Strategic Role in Feeding and Fueling a Growing World.

"We encourage public and private decision makers to review these policy proposals and consider the concepts in light of challenges facing agriculture and the food system," Conklin added.

Released in December 2008, the Foundation’s 30-Year Challenge report identifies six major areas of challenges agriculture will face as it works to provide food, feed, fiber and fuel to a growing world. The six areas are: global financial markets and recession; global food security; global energy security; climate change; competition for natural resources; and global economic development. The report highlights key issues public and private decision makers may need to consider as they confront the challenges of feeding a growing world. The 30-Year Challenge project was not conceived to recommend specific approaches but rather to foster understanding of the challenges ahead and potential options to address those challenges.

The seven winning entries—two entries shared the prize in the challenge category of climate change—are:
  • Global Food Security
    Jean-Phillippe Gervais of North Carolina State University: Moving Agricultural Trade Liberalization Forward to Improve Global Food Security
  • Global Energy Security
    Chad Hellwinckel and Daniel De La Torre Ugarte, both of the University of Tennessee: Peak Oil and the Necessity of Transitioning to Regenerative Agriculture

    The world faces profound long-term resource challenges in providing food and materials derived from agriculture over the next 30 to 50 years. This paper argues that the continuous and highly linear expansion of resources used in agriculture, based on fossil energy and related materials, may not provide an adequate or acceptable growth path in the long term. The proposal is to carefully re-examine alternatives involving lower fossil energy use, nutrient and energy sourcing from plant and animal sources, and pest control from crop rotations and agronomic practices. This paper challenges public institutions to explore and educate the public on innovative alternatives in farming systems, rather than relying exclusively on the growing chemical input approaches of the last few decades.
  • Climate Change – Two Shared Winners
    Loni Kemp, Kemp Consulting: Greener Biofuels Tax Credits: A Policy to Drive Multiple Goals
    Tristin Brown, Dermont Hayes and Robert Brown, all of Iowa State University: The Embedded Carbon Valuation System: A Policy Concept to Address Climate Change
  • Competition for Natural Resources
    Dean Lemke and Shawn Richmond, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship: Iowa Drainage and Wetlands Landscape Systems Initiative
  • Global Economic Development
    Gregory Vaughan: Integrated Policies for an Agricultural Revolution in the Sahel

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