Efficiently increasing food production

Close-up of a wheat field

TEXT OF STORY

Bob Moon: By some estimates, the world will need to double food production in the next 40 years to feed the growing population. That idea is pretty unappetizing to those concerned about Earth's resources. But a study out today shows in the U.S. at least, agriculture isn't too hard on the environment. Yet. Ashley Milne-Tyte reports.


Ashley Milne-Tyte: Some unusual bedfellows make up the group behind the study. They include the American Soybean Association, ConAgra Foods, Coca Cola and the Nature Conservancy. The group found that producing corn, soy, cotton and wheat has become more efficient in the last 20 years.

Michael Reuter is with the Nature Conservancy:

Michael Reuter: The upshot here is that we're growing more product in a lot of these areas while relying on less inputs.

Meaning water, energy and soil. Still, demand for U.S. food products is expected to soar.

Reuter: The question is, how do we increase productivity in the right places to meet that demand without causing further expansion of agriculture into areas that might be important?

And if that expansion does take place, he says, there's the question of how to minimize the environmental impact.

I'm Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.

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