The Extension of Borlaug’s “Green Revolution”

The November/December issue of Foreign Affairs is entitled “The World Ahead” and is made up of a series of brief articles addressing the many challenges that are likely to arise around the world. In the words of James F. Hoge, Jr., the editor, “encompassing a long list of simmering conflicts, unsettling trends and mounting global problems”.

From the point of view of AgFeed one article in particular stood out, “The Fertile Continent” by Roger Thurow. While primarily focused on the agricultural opportunities and challenges facing Africa, he points out that “global food production will need to increase by 70-100 percent” by 2050 to merely keep pace with the anticipated growth in population.  Thurow asks how the needed rise in food production will be addressed.  His focus, in this article tends to be on grain production in the developing world, while ignoring the type of efficiency in other areas of food production that can reduce demand for foodstuffs in some areas of food production freeing it for other uses.

Through our export of our US based techniques, technologies and methods to our western-style hog farms in China we expect to not only significantly increase production yields but also efficiencies.  Upon meeting our US production standards we can reduce the amount of corn and soy needed to bring a hog to market weight by 25%.  We believe that this kind of progress, the type that AgFeed is exporting, can make a meaningful contribution to the issues that Thurow anticipates in his article. 

In fact by our own internal estimates if we could apply this type of efficiency to the entire Chinese national hog heard the annual corn savings would equal the entire annual corn consumption of Mexico.

There remain real savings and productivity improvements in global agricultural.