Research is the grease that keeps the agriculture wheels moving, and new technology how North Carolina agriculture is going to get bigger and more profitable.
Today, NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler, running for his third term as ag commissioner discusses keeping research dollars moving, as well as creating value-added crops, and crop diversification:
"The one things that I know is that weather is going to be a constant; its going to be too wet, too dry, too cold and too hot. That is not going to be what is going to increase yields to meet worldwide demand. Stats show that by 2030 we will need a 50% increase in food supply. And 75-100% more by 2050.
Agricultural research is what has taken us from the point of feeding only our families to feeding150 people today by one farmer. Research is going to be the key to the continued success of agriculture and our growth.
Its not an easy sell. If you go to the legislature and start talking about agricultural research, there is always tomorrow from their perspective. The truth is, research takes time and we need to continue to ramp up agricultural research today. What we can do, is continue with partnerships in private industry. When I look at the amount of investment that private industry is making into agricultural research and technology, its staggering. This tells me that private industry knows that agriculture is going to be the place to be in the future, and we want our legislators to realize that.
I’ve had to go to the legislature during these first two terms to keep agricultural research stations from being closed or being sold. And to continue to get the agricultural research dollars that we need to be good partners with NC State and A& T University. I really believe we are on the cusp of an agricultural revolution that will be driven by technology and innovation. That is the way that we get to meet the world wide food demands. If we don’t meet these demands efficiently, then we may grow crops that a lot of the world will not be able to afford. What we don’t want to happen, is to have hundreds of millions of hungry people around the world that are willing to fight for the food they need just to survive. Its strategically important for the US and North Carolina to be agricultural leaders.”
For more of Commissioner Troxler’s comments, as well as those of his opponent, Walter Smith, click here. Next week we’ll hear from the candidates on labor issues and the importance of immigration reform.