DairyCast update for January 28, 2011, Life After Business Trauma

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100 Questions That Can Change Agriculture


Many organizations are stating that by 2050 there will be 9 billion people on Earth and that agriculture must change to be able to produce enough food for this growing population.

Despite a significant growth in food production over the past half-century, one of the most important challenges facing society today is how to feed an expected population of some nine billion by the middle of the 20th century.

The top 100 questions of importance to the future of global agriculture is the result of research and focused conversations about the global issues, agriculture, and being able to meet the food needs of the world.

The aim is to use sound scientific evidence to inform decision making and guide policy makers in the future direction of agricultural research priorities and policy support. If addressed, we anticipate that these questions will have a significant impact on global agricultural practices worldwide, while improving the synergy between agricultural policy, practice and research. This research forms part of the UK Government's Foresight Global Food and Farming Futures project.

Consumers Are Swayed by Animal Welfare Issues

Marketing to consumers must be factored into any animal agriculture policy and legislative fronts. The public exposure animal rights and animal welfare debates create also impact purchasing decisions by consumers.

Fighting ballot initiatives regarding the care and housing of farm/food animals might actually be poorly advised, according to a recent study by economists at Oklahoma State University. The analysis evaluated demand for eggs in selected California markets before and following the vote on the farm animal housing initiative -- Proposition 2, or "Prop 2" -- in 2008 in which California voters adopted Prop 2 by 66% of the vote.

Animal ag producers must understand the consumer market space and strategically think about how to approach ballot initiatives and new regulations.

"If this attention leads to undesirable consumer shifts in purchasing behaviors, industry stakeholders need to be cautious in developing strategies in response to ballot initiatives similar to Prop 2 in the future"

advises Glynn Tonsor, an agricultural economist at Kansas State University.

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