|Capital Press on March 16 published on-line President O’Toole’s summary of the new Alliance report “Is Anyone Listening?” The opinion piece can be found HERE.
“There was for a long time an inborn appreciation and awareness by our own policy leaders for the critical importance of a stable food supply,” Mr. O’Toole writes. “Now, it appears that many simply assume that food is something that comes from the local grocery store. Our arguments in support of Western irrigated agriculture have in recent years been drowned in a flood of commentary from faraway critics who downplay and even criticize the importance of using water to produce affordable and safe food and fiber.”
Mr. O’Toole’s commentary warns that global food shortages, once predicted to materialize around 2050, may now come much sooner.
“At a time when the future of Ukraine’s ability to help feed the outside world is at risk, the world’s best producers — Western irrigators — are watching their water flushed to the sea to purportedly help fish populations.”
The Global Agricultural Productivity (GAP) Report in 2010 first quantified the difference between the current rate of agricultural productivity growth and the pace required to meet future world food needs. That report predicted that total global agricultural output would have to be doubled by the year 2050 to meet the food needs of a growing global population.
“The U.S. needs a stable domestic food supply, just as it needs a stable energy supply,” Mr. O’Toole writes. “As we teeter on the brink of world war, that stability becomes even more pressing.”
Mr. O’Toole and the Alliance believe that Western irrigated agriculture is a strategic national resource, and the role of the federal government in the 21st Century should be to protect and enhance that resource.
“At the Family Farm Alliance, we will continue our efforts to ensure Western irrigated agriculture continues to play a vital role in feeding our Nation, while keeping our rural communities and the environment healthy,” he concludes.
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