What do you think is the biggest public misconception about agriculture? How would you help to fix it?
Location: Greensboro, NC
The importance of modern agriculture and its contribution to the safe and abundant food supply we enjoy is not well-understood by the general public. Technology development and adoption over the last several decades has contributed greatly to agricultural productivity, including the improved utilization of our land and natural resources. These are important achievements we must continually communicate to consumers and legislators to ensure modern agriculture keeps pace with the increased demands of our growing population.
I often find myself in public interactions where the importance of technology’s contribution to food production for our entire population is not understood or appreciated. I have learned to respond to this realization by helping educate people on the size of the challenge agriculture must take on to ensure food security and environmental responsibility. Helping people understand how modernized and regulated food production has become, and why modern agriculture must be a large part of the solution, is an important starting point for many of these discussions or debates.
Questions or preferences for local food, organic food or non-GMO food are often raised in these interactions at some point, and these topics usually provide opportunities to broaden the educational dialogue. I find much of the public mistakes a food preference, like organic food, for a food production strategy. Therefore, helping the public understand the difference is very important. Having the opportunity for food preference is a luxury not all people in our country and around the world have, so helping our public understand the bigger challenge modern agriculture serves (feeding the world population) helps give many a new perspective. After all, we should be aligning support, regulations and investment to enable a robust food production strategy, not a food preference.