Friday, June 12, 2009

Feeding the Hungry

This is an editorial I sent to Feedstuffs today.

Editorial Submitted For Consideration By Feedstuffs

June 12, 2009

Dear Feedstuffs:

The June 6, 2009 edition of Feedstuffs provided praiseworthy coverage of agricultural sustainability issues.  Noting that the world population will grow 50% by 2050, and that the rate of agricultural productivity growth is declining, Feedstuffs asked how “we” will feed this growing population.  Thank you for addressing this important topic, and please allow me to contribute.

How will “we” feed a growing population?  The answer is really quite simple: allow markets the freedom to adjust to a changing world.  As the world grows, the price of agricultural goods and inputs will change, and free markets will respond to those changes with prudence.  Deciding where certain food types should be grown, how they should be grown, where they should be sold, and what consumers should purchase are all important questions.  However, no government, no committee, and no scientist however intelligent have the information necessary to make these decisions wisely.  Markets, however, are adept at such decisions.

Research in agriculture is important, but is no panacea.  Our amazing ability to produce food and our great modern wealth owes much gratitude to the entrepreneurial spirit and reliance on markets.  There is only one factor that would prohibit agriculture from feeding this larger population.  Only if—in our hubris and overestimation of any one group’s abilities—we interfere with the private decisions of food producers and food consumers will agriculture fail to meet this important challenge.