Woertz sees agriculture as meeting challenges ahead

by Josh Sosland
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DES MOINES, IOWA — "The world is looking to agriculture" to meet the challenges of a doubling of world food demand by 2050 and to deal with the prospect that energy from traditional sources will be insufficient to meet demand, said Patricia Woertz, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Archer Daniels Midland Co. Speaking Oct. 15 at the 2009 World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue in Des Moines, Ms. Woertz expressed confidence that "agriculture can create viable, sustainable solutions to some of the world’s most pressing needs." She noted that world corn production climbed 56% between 1981 and 2007 with only a 10% increase in acreage. Looking at the potential for further gains, she reviewed a study looking at what would happen if the 15 top producing nations/regions could achieve between 70% and 80% of the best yields on record. "Without bringing a single additional acre of land into production, there would be an increase of up to 50% in global maize production, growth of up to 52% in world wheat production and an increase of as much as 41% in rapeseed production," she said. Added to "new efficiencies" in processing, feed utilization and biofuel production, the benefits are even greater, she said.

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