World Economic Forum Held

World Economic Forum Held

Global leaders meet, discuss agriculture’s future in feeding the world.

The World Economic Forum was held in Davos, Switzerland last week. The forum meets annually to develop strategy to improve the state of the world. The gathering is a high-level assembly of business and government leaders from around the world and is privately financed. World Farmers Organization President and National Farmers Union Vice President for International Affairs Robert Carlson was an invited guest.

Carlson says it was rewarding to be at the forum because he and the two other WFO members were well received. He says people really want to know what farmers have to say and he appreciates how farmers were being treated with respect and dignity at the meetings.

NFU says agriculture, water use, energy development and climate change are interconnected in a complex relationship that demands different solutions in different parts of the world. The WE Forum is dedicated to finding efficient, decentralized and practical solutions as quickly as possible through partnerships between private business and government policy. In the developing countries that means a combination of many improvements to increase farm production.

Those improvements include sources of credit, property rights, plant and animal research and a whole series of infrastructure improvements such as road transportation, farm supply businesses, storage for fruit, vegetables and grains and meat and an extension service, things that already exist for the developed world’s farmers. Carlson says to feed another two billion people in the next 40 years is a huge opportunity for agriculture, and farmers know they can do it because they have before.

Carlson thinks the long-term trend is positive for U.S. farmers, but he says the pressure for them to farm and produce more with fewer resources will be there. Effective adaptation will be key, which he says is something U.S. farmers are constantly doing, and doing very well.

"Every farmer, whether in a poorer country or richer country wants to make a profit and improve the quality of life for his or her family," Carlson said. "The necessary investments in assets will be made to improve production and efficiency if farmers have a price incentive and the ability to control some of their economic risk."

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