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"One of the challenges we in agriculture face, as people understand less and less about what we do, is maintaining our freedom to operate, and being able to operate as advancing science suggests is the most productive and efficient," says John Anderson, deputy senior economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation. “All this is bound up in the idea of social license: Do people understand what we do? And do they trust us enough to let us do it?"
TERRY BEASLEY, from left, Amory, Miss.; Tommy Moody, Belmont, Miss.; Don Thompson, Golden, Miss.; and Danny Dilworth, Rienzi, Miss., were among those attending the annual Mississippi State University Producer Advisory Council meeting for north Mississippi.
Growing global demand bodes well for ag
Long-term prospects for the ag sector look “very good,” Anderson says. “We’re going to continue to have growing global demand, with 9 billion mouths to feed by 2050. I don’t think that number is as important as the basic fundamental concept of a growing population and, in a lot of cases, rising incomes in places where people are going to spend more money on improving their diets.
“This backdrop of increasing global demand is very positive for agriculture.”
Technological advancements: Agriculture, Anderson says, is “one of the most technologically advanced sectors of our entire economy. That surprises people outside of agriculture, most of whom still have a fairly antiquated view of agricultural production.
“Ours is a phenomenally advanced sector of the economy, and it’s getting more so all the time. One of the things we’re talking about now is big data, and the application of big data information and techniques to improve agricultural production. Agriculture is going to continue to be on the cutting edge of technology.”
Operational freedom: “One of the things we’ve got to watch,” Anderson says, “and one of the challenges we face, as people understand less and less about what we do, is maintaining our freedom to operate, and being able to operate as advancing science suggests is the most productive and efficient.
“All this is bound up in the idea of social license: Do people understand what we do? And do they trust us enough to let us do it?
“At Farm Bureau, this is something we work on daily, as is the case with our Land Grant universities. We in agriculture do the best we can to do what is scientifically sound, but we need to take a further step and make sure we’re communicating this to the public.
“We need for them to understand what we’re doing, and for them to be on board with us,” Anderson says. “Communicating with consumers is going to be an ongoing challenge for us.”