Last month I attended the 2012 IDEAg Interconnectivity Conference in Altoona, IA. The conference brought together the entire interconnected agriculture sector — including large grain and livestock producers — for three days of cutting-edge education, exhibits and networking.
The opening presentation featured Kip Tom, managing member of Tom Farms LLC, based in Leesburg, IN. Tom Farms is a global production, sales and service operation, specializing in corn and soybeans, that operates over 16,000 acres in Indiana and another 4,000 acres in Argentina.
Kip began by sharing a little about his family's farming background. Then he brought up an important concern he admitted to thinking about almost daily: the task of feeding 9.3 billion people in 2050.
He went on to note the average person's caloric intake in the western hemisphere is 3,500 calories/day. In America, it’s more like 3,800 calories/day, when all we need is 1,800 to sustain ourselves. That statistic really caught my ear. What does this tell us? We are already producing enough food for this world, which is evident by the record U.S. obesity rate.
I never thought of famers as food manufacturers, but now it absolutely makes sense. Today there are some 5,000 producers who take raw resources to make a product that creates 30% of our food supply.
But still, so many people don’t understand how food is produced. They stand on the sideline and let us do it for them. Kip urged us in the crowed to get involved; to educate today’s consumers about where their food comes from.
After listening to Kip, it made me a little proud of the knowledge and experience I gained from my farming background. That’s why I enjoy working in this industry. It keeps me in touch with the good folks who work together to feed this world. All of us are experts about the part of the food chain we touch, and should be proud of our involvement in agriculture.