Feeding the World
Published: 01 September 2011
In this day and age, when we ship a load of calves, lambs or any kind of livestock, for that matter, the meat may end up anywhere in the world. We never thought about that until a few years past, when we realized the cattle cycle and others were a thing of the past.
The Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) agreement is in the news these days. We all thought it would be the silver bullet – enough of one to fight over, anyway – but some are pleased to see it stopped. I’m not sure we know enough about it to make a judgment right now, but I sure hope it doesn’t muddle up the sandbox, as the livestock industry seems to have enough to fight over these days. For Wyoming right now, everything is going good, with good grass and good water – more than we need in some places – and good prices. Let’s take a deep breath and enjoy it while it lasts.
We hear that the world population is really growing, and some forecast around nine billion people will populate our planet by the year 2050, up from seven billion today. How will we supply daily protein to that many humans, or is it even possible? The big question, with our changing weather, is whether or not we can feed everyone. Feeding the world is one of the main topics at world forums these days, and the populations of fast-growing countries like India and China are turning up their noses at their main staples – cereals – and they now want, and can afford, meat and vegetables.
While the percentage of our income that we spend in America for food is the lowest in the world, at around eight percent, that is not the case in other countries, where some pay over 40 percent of their income for food. Statistics show the number of people below the poverty level of $1.25 a day, which had been falling consistently in the 1990s, rose sharply in 2007/2008. Some say that seems to suggest the world cannot even feed its current population. With agriculture as a victim of climate change, and some say even a cause, how will the world feed itself in the next four decades?
We can produce the food in the U.S., but government will have to get out of the way and let the farmers and ranchers do what they do best: grow and raise food. A cow standing in the creek, or more livestock on public lands, may not be pressing problems for many when they are hungry, and a hungry wolf may have to stand back for a hungry human. It will be interesting to see how those mindsets change when we see people rioting over food. All of these negatives don’t have to occur, but to avoid them it’s now that we have to change.
Some say we are walking a tightrope to provide enough food for all. Here in America food is so plentiful, and it is almost labeled a pleasure with so many overweight, and our food is the most significant influence on our health. If we all put our heads together, we won’t go hungry.