Land O’Lakes CEO: Everyone Should Care About the Global Water Crisis

Beth Ford during fireside chat
Beth Ford, CEO and president of Land O’ Lakes, engages in a “fireside chat” with CASNR Dean Tiffany Heng-Moss. (Photo by Craig Chandler, University Communication and Marketing)

Land O’Lakes CEO: Everyone Should Care About the Global Water Crisis

"Food security is national security,” said Land O’Lakes President and CEO Beth Ford in a May 8 Heuermann Lecture at Nebraska Innovation Campus in Lincoln.

To address agricultural challenges, Ford stressed the need for a comprehensive, long-term water sustainability strategy, and shared why water is at the top of her priority list.

“Fresh water demand will outstrip supply by 2030 by 56% globally, and water is critical to production agriculture, it’s critical to communities and to life,” Ford said.

Water issues and policies are very local but have global implications, especially with agriculture and the food supply.

To meet the grand challenge of feeding 10 billion people by 2050, more agricultural research funding is needed, Ford said. While GMOs have increased yields by 25%, Ford said we’ve nearly maximized the increase in production that they can provide. However, she said research funding is still at 1970s levels, while we simultaneously face an unprecedented challenge of population growth, climate change, water crisis and food insecurity.

She also addressed the need for more agricultural laborers to ensure all available food is harvested and all available acres are planted.

To read more about Ford’s Heuermann Lecture, continue this article on Nebraska Today.

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