Today, one U.S. farmer produces enough food to feed 155 people and is the leading producer of more than 50 foods of importance to diets throughout the world.
Tomorrow, all U.S. farmers will face demand that will require they produce even more food, on the same or fewer acres, with fewer inputs, and in a sustainable manner. According to the United Nations, global agriculture will have to produce 70 percent more food over the next 40 years than it does today. Can a single U.S. farmer produce enough food for 264 people? He or she will have to, because world population growth is not projected to level off until the mid- to late-21st century.
The American farmer has been dedicated to improving sustainability as much as he’s been dedicated to improving the productivity and efficiency of his farming operation. Farmers now see themselves as a businessman, running a high-dollar, high-tech business.
The possibility of meeting this demand will be largely dependent upon basic agricultural development in developing countries, with only 10 percent of all supply gains expected to come from increased acres entering into production. And while increased production and acres in developing countries is important, the responsibility will fall largely upon agriculture in developed countries to increase productivity; to get more food off the same or fewer acres.
From 1950 to the most recent year reported in the 2000s:
- Corn yields per acre increased 75%
- Soybean yields per acre increased 47%
- Total red meat production increased 55%
Learn more about modern agriculture: