Across the Ed­i­tor’s Desk

Which tech­nol­ogy holds the next mo­ment of im­pact for your op­er­a­tion?

Successful Farming - - CONTENTS -

Re­cently, I had the op­por­tu­nity to in­ter­view Pep­siCo’s Mehmood Khan and Cargill’s Jill Kolling. While you may think these two in­di­vid­u­als have lit­tle in com­mon, the fact is, they both rep­re­sent com­pa­nies work­ing to bring in­no­va­tion to agri­cul­ture to help pro­duce a safe, abun­dant, sus­tain­able, and nu­tri­tious food sup­ply.

“We will have 2 bil­lion more mouths to feed by 2050, which means food de­mand will go up by 30% to 40% in the next 30 years,” says Khan. “It’s go­ing to take sev­eral play­ers to im­prove ef­fi­ciency and pro­duc­tiv­ity; while at the same time, en­sur­ing we re­duce agri­cul­ture’s en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact.”

By bring­ing to­gether tech­nol­o­gists, agri­cul­tur­al­ists, aca­demics, in­vestors, and hope­fully pol­icy-mak­ers, notes Khan, we can start to ask ques­tions and share ideas on what the next gen­er­a­tion of bi­o­log­i­cal tech­nol­ogy for plant breed­ing could be, what the best prac­tices for grow­ing a crop are, how we cre­ate full-scale crops that are more nu­tri­tious, how we ef­fec­tively dis­sem­i­nate that nutri­tion, and how we elim­i­nate food waste.

As myr­iad stake­hold­ers in the value chain come to­gether to tackle the com­plex chal­lenges in agri­cul­ture, the is­sues fac­ing tech­nol­ogy adop­tion also come to light.

“There are a num­ber of in­no­va­tive ideas com­ing from ag tech start-ups,” Kolling says. “What ev­ery­one has to un­der­stand is that we can’t push these tech­nolo­gies on farm­ers. Just as we have to bring con­sumers along in the jour­ney of how their food is pro­duced, we have to take the same ap­proach with farm­ers. We have to help them un­der­stand how a tech­nol­ogy can truly ben­e­fit their busi­ness.”

Achiev­ing that in an in­dus­try steeped in tra­di­tion will be no small feat. Yet, it has been said that tra­di­tion should not be some­thing that holds you back, but rather the launch­ing pad of in­no­va­tion for the fu­ture. As you flip through the pages of this spe­cial is­sue, I chal­lenge you to con­sider the im­pli­ca­tions that at least one of these 13 ideas could have on your busi­ness.

Will it be blockchain to bet­ter track your crop (p. 44)? Will it be gene-edited live­stock re­sis­tant to dis­ease (p. 8)? Will it be a new breed of wheat (p. 18)? Will it be a plat­form to pur­chase your in­puts (p. 56) or to mar­ket your grain on­line (p. 60)? No mat­ter which of the 13 in­no­va­tions you choose to learn more about, let’s ex­plore the pos­si­bil­i­ties to­gether. As Khan notes, “All of us are

smarter than any one of us.”

Lau­rie Be­dord Ex­ec­u­tive Ed­i­tor, Ag Tech­nol­ogy lau­­[email protected]­ Twit­ter: @bedord­lau­rie

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