Innovation is the Key to Sustainable Food Production

Food security is once again in the spotlight. With a rise in conflict, displacement, climate disasters, and a global pandemic that has spread across the world, hunger is on the rise again after years of progress in the global fight. Our food production has also been challenged. Farmers and ranchers continue to face difficulties resulting from erratic weather patterns and global competition.

New advancements in technology are the keys to sustainably supporting and growing our food supply and driving our economy forward. While we have already made significant strides in the fight against hunger, to meet growing demand for food worldwide, the global community will need to find new ways to feed the population using fewer resources. There is always a need for continued improvement. One of those ways is through gene editing, which is an emerging plant and animal breeding method with promising implications for sustainable food production. This year, gene editing received new and well-deserved attention. The 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was recently awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna for the development of a method of gene editing.

Although gene editing received high praise from a high place, the ultimate test of approval will be with consumers. New research released by The FMI Foundation in partnership with the American Seed Trade Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and the Farm Foundation found that consumers are largely unaware of the benefits of this groundbreaking technology.

This month’s edition of Inside Story takes a deep dive into the promise of gene editing and the many benefits it holds for us and the importance of communicating these benefits to consumers early and often.

The U.S. continues to lead the way in modernizing the future of the agricultural industry, including through the advancement and adoption of new technology in agriculture – setting a standard for the world to follow. We must continue to invest in innovation like gene editing to help us grow our food and fiber in an efficient and sustainable way.

Gloria Story Dittus, Chairman, Story Partners