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US is Leading the Innovation Needed to Feed the World

Norman Borlaug was a humble man who created a lasting global legacy through innovation, hard work and dedication to a cause. I firmly believe that Borlaug’s spirit is alive and well today.

This week, the agricultural world will focus on Des Moines for the annual World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue. Norman Borlaug’s Green Revolution is credited with saving over 1 billion lives, and his legacy joins that of many American innovators working for the betterment of humanity. As an Iowan, I am proud of this history.

Nearly 80 years after Borlaug began his innovative work, 21st-century challenges including population growth, ongoing global conflicts and climate change require continued innovation from American business and industry. Our ability to provide food in the future depends on the actions we take together today.

American foreign policy must first and foremost serve our people. At the State Department, we collaborate with our allies and partners to promote effective global competition to advance our economic interests, so that our farmers, producers, and agricultural manufacturers can bring their goods to the world with consistent, free and fair access to global markets.

We remain committed to advancing a science-based approach to international trade policy regarding biotechnology, and we continually advocate with foreign counterparts to expand foreign market opportunities for biotechnology products. Our goal is to foster opportunities in global markets that grow the American economy and strengthen our middle class in the Heartland and beyond.

In the past two years, we faced a global agricultural commodities market still reeling from COVID-19. Considering the uncertainty present at the time, foreign buyers opted to return to the credibility and consistent quality offered by American producers.

Last year, the United States exported over $200 billion in agricultural goods (up from over $192 billion the year before), comprising about 7.1 percent of all American exports. The United States consistently ranks as a top exporter of agricultural goods, underlying the strong global demand for American products — many of which come from Iowa.

Americans can draw upon our strength in agriculture to lead the world on global food security. As countries around the world grapple with the global food crisis exacerbated by Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine, the United States has provided $14 billion in humanitarian and development assistance to deliver urgent relief for hungry people since 2022.

But beyond aid, we need to lean into homegrown innovation to feed an estimated 10 billion people by 2050.  Since Borlaug’s time, America has been a standard-bearer for agricultural innovation and technology. It’s time we double down on agricultural research and development at home and plant the seeds of the next Green Revolution. For example, leveraging the potential of artificial intelligence in agriculture can revolutionize the way we produce food, optimize supply chains, manage resources, and forecast the future. Much of this crucial innovation is taking place in places like Iowa, including at events like the Borlaug Dialogue, where Iowans and U.S. policymakers collaborate with global leaders and likeminded partners on how innovation will transform global food security. 

Around the world, the State Department is supporting new approaches to help communities overseas build better food systems. The Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils (VACS) in Africa mobilizes public and private investment to breed new varieties of indigenous, climate-resilient crops that are productive and nutritious, while maintaining and restoring soil health and fertility. By building the capacity of African farmers, communities can better feed their families and withstand future shocks.

Here in Iowa, farmers, the private sector, and universities are continually pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. Innovation and economic prosperity go hand in hand, and I am proud to see that Iowa continues to be a trailblazer in science and agriculture.  My colleagues and I in Washington are working every day to maintain a business and international regulatory environment for agricultural goods that conducive to continuous innovation.  

Borlaug was a humble man who created a lasting global legacy through innovation, hard work and dedication to a cause.  I firmly believe that Borlaug’s spirit is alive and well today.  I see it every time I return home to Iowa.  The world is relying on our leadership to solve 21st-century challenges, and just like Borlaug, we will rise to the challenge again. I cannot wait to see the next innovation from our Heartland that goes on to change the world.

Source : Desmoinesregister