AM: Like every job, I’m sure yours has ups and downs, good days and challenging ones. What aspect of your job do you find most gratifying? What has been the most challenging experience you’ve encountered as a farmer?
KT: One of the most gratifying experiences is 1.) seeing committed young people come into our business (or another farm) and engage in the work with a desire to make a difference, and 2.) having the opportunity to help them along the way.
I also enjoy opportunities to transfer knowledge of production agriculture and give others the opportunity to change their lives and businesses. It’s exciting to ignite the spirit of entrepreneurism that is embedded in some people and watch it flourish.
One of the challenges I face is attempting to make a significant impact in consumer awareness of modern agriculture systems. Another challenge is attempting to change and improve global food security when those in developing countries want to engage, but politics, governance or cultures do not allow it to happen. It starts with our youth, and one person at a time.
AM: In the profile about you in “Indianapolis Monthly,” you said something about GMO crops providing millions of meals served to a starving world while noting there has not been one hospital visit reported because of GMO use. Can you expound on that? How is modern agriculture and biotechnology helping to feed a starving world?
KT: First off, I will say that I and many in agriculture embrace all forms of food production, whether organic, natural, local or commercial modern agriculture. We need them all for today and tomorrow.
My reference to biotechnology was in respect to concerns about food safety. Since 1996, the global population has consumed 17 trillion meals without one documented overnight hospital stay that was verified and attributed to approved biotech crops.
Biotechnology has delivered crops that have improved yields and productivity, including new advanced molecular breeding techniques and the ability to ward off pest more effectively. The biotech changes have reduced the impact of pesticides to humans and the environment.
Up to this time, most biotech crops benefits were focused on improving production. Going forward, there has and will continue to be significant investments in developing seeds and traits that benefit the diets of consumers and livestock. We will build coordinated supply chains that will deliver more value, and improve agriculture systems and those that agricultural systems support.
As the world’s population climbs to 9.3 billion people in tandem with improved diets, we will need to double the worlds food supply by 2050 with the same or fewer resources we have today while protecting the environment. We are (and will be) merely using science in food production, just as we do in so many other areas of our human existence like medicine and technology.
Thanks Kip for some great insights into Indiana agriculture. Do YOU have any questions about ag that you’d like to see answered on this blog? If so, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading!