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Science and Technology

This outbreak must be stopped

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There has been a lot of news coverage about the current outbreaks of measles in the United States and Germany. The disease, which had previously been eradicated in these countries, has resurfaced because some people choose not to have their children vaccinated. They base that decision on a study done...

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Make agriculture research a national priority

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Several years ago, I had a chairperson of one of my college’s external advisory boards who would begin every meeting the same way. He would tell the people around the table to take off their hats—the hats they wear everyday as leaders of diverse organizations with many specific priorities—and...

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Lessons of Norman Borlaug's Green Revolution

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This week marks the end of the year-long celebration honoring the centenary of the birth of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, famed scientist and recipient of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for his role in fighting global hunger. His wheat breeding efforts launched the Green Revolution in the 1960s that is...

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It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it—or we're all in trouble

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I’ve been thinking a lot about dirt lately.

I know that most people give dirt—or the more accurate term, soil—about as much thought as they do mattress tags, but I can’t seem to get the subject off my brain. After all, soil is life and we’re running out of it.

Last month,...

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New initiative to advance soil health research, management

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Every once in a while, a moment comes along that changes everything. A small idea sparks action. Action fosters collaboration. Momentum builds. And a movement is born.

On Nov. 13 and 14, a handful of men and women experienced the beginning of something profound, something I believe...

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A new sheriff in town: Lusk brings facts and research to skewed arguments

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Sometimes one hour is all you need to change a perspective.

Each year, the Noble Foundation sponsors the Profiles and Perspectives Community Enrichment Series. This multipart series brings highly regarded national and international speakers to southern Oklahoma to share experiences and insights. In one hour, these speakers detail subjects from the...

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Weighing the facts on food system issues

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This week brought a new report on animal production, a bevy of responses and yet another challenge for responsible consumers to weigh the facts on complex and controversial food system issues.

On Oct. 22, the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future released a report, “Industrial Food Animal Production in...

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Pure imagination: Chipotle makes nonsensical attack ad against production agriculture

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By now, almost everyone has seen the Chipotle Mexican Grill commercial.

You know, the one with a sad scarecrow in a dystopian future rebelling against mass processed food by opening his own wholesome “Chipotle” style stand, all while Fiona Apple mournfully croons “Pure Imagination” in the background.

This is supposed to be...

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New legislation could infuse agricultural research with new funding

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Earlier this month, members in both houses of Congress introduced a progressive new piece of legislation, the Charitable Agricultural Research Act. In a time when it seems legislative impasses are commonplace and statesmanship is a forgotten art, the Charitable Agricultural Research Act is a result of a close working relationship...

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Activists continue nonsensical attack on modern agriculture, GMOs

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In recent months, op-ed pages from The New York Times to the Des Moines Register—and numerous blogs in between—have taken a swipe at agricultural biotechnology and the Farmer Assurance Provision, which attempts to afford some protection for the use of these technologies.

These mostly misinformed pundits stir a cauldron of fear,...

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SMAP Satellite: Helping to Feed the World

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Agricultural production is driven by weather. More to the point, from Boone County, Iowa, to Sub-Saharan Africa, crop yields depend on the timing and amount of rainfall and, more specifically, soil moisture. It goes without saying that managing for rainfall variability is a challenge for farmers.

Early in my career as...

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It's time to fix the system


As concern for how we feed 9 billion by 2050 rises in our consciences, support for the research needed to do so emerges as a major challenge. A recent paper released by AGree highlights how much the United States is lagging in investment in public supportfor agricultural research. This...

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Tools needed to feed 9 billion


The word is out that we may have to feed 9 billion people—about 2 billion more than today—by 2050, and we have to do so with less arable land, and fewer water resources in an environment of greater weather extremes such as droughts and floods. While there exists a moral...

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Research legislation could infuse private funds


A little more than a year ago, I became aware of the Charitable Agricultural Research Act. This innovative federal legislation sought to create a type of 501(c)(3) organization—an agricultural research organization (ARO). AROs would allow more private wealth from individuals and families to establish research institutions for the purpose of...

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Private industry an invaluable partner for public researchers

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In my last post, I discussed two interrelated issues that impact the potential productivity of research in the United States.

First, we live in a critical age that requires scientists to focus their primary research efforts on developing tangible outcomes.  Pure knowledge-based research, as part of a larger research “portfolio,” has...

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The Need For Balance in Research

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The next 40 years will see a global population explosion unlike any in recorded human history, placing unparalleled demands on the agricultural industry.  It is clear that science and technology will serve as catalysts for change—just as they have throughout history. Be it a cure for polio or surfing an...

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A Chance for Bipartisan Clean Energy Legislation

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Renewable energy has been a high priority in Washington, D.C. in the past three years, and one source of that energy that has been on the back burner—hydropower—is receiving much more attention in recent months.

Many Western farmers, ranchers and water managers are interested in installing low-head hydropower facilities...

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Science and Technology Solutions Through Public-Private Partnerships

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In the 1940s, a farmer in the United States produced enough food to feed 39 people. Less than 75 years later, each farmer now feeds 155 people from less land than the previous generation. These advances in production might encourage some hubris if not for the daunting task that lies...

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The views and opinions expressed in AgChllenge2050 blog posts are solely the opinions of the authors, and not those of Farm Foundation, NFP.