Mark Bittman’s latest blog post on the NYTimes Opinionator, Don’t End Agricultural Subsidies, Fix Them, argues for a more sensible program that could, among other things, more robustly “fund research and innovation in sustainable agriculture, provide necessary incentives to attract the 100,000 new farmers Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack claims we need, and to level the playing field so that medium-sized farms — big enough to supply local supermarkets but small enough to care what and how they grow — can become more competitive with agribusiness.”
Bayer CropScience hosted its annual Ag Issues Forum this week to discuss the impending challenge of sustainably feeding a fast-growing world population in the 21st century. Speakers at the event ranged from Clayton Yeutter, former US Secretary of Agriculture to Robert Kenner, the producer, writer, and director of Food, Inc. Discussion topics included “A look at Agriculture through the Food, Inc. Prism,” “Capital Investment in Agriculture,” and “Standing Up for Our Food System.”
The need to develop sustainable agriculture solutions and technologies that support topsoil development and preservation is essential to the survival of the human race. For this to happen, dirt must become a sexy cause that people feel compelled to rally around.
Perhaps the ‘Board of Dirt’ or ‘Dirt Board,’ if such a board existed, could use this tagline in its collateral to sell the sexiness of dirt.
Any way you slice it, dice it, butter it, the emergence of widespread corporate sustainable agriculture initiatives is a positive development. Some of the largest corporations in the world from Walmart, Sysco Corporation, and PepsiCo to Kellogg, Nestle, and General Mills are engaged in or launching initiatives to increase usage of sustainable agriculture practices and technologies.
In a positive development for venture investment in sustainable agricultural technology, Google Ventures along with Khosla Ventures, First Round Capital, Index Ventures, and Allen & Co. invested $42 million in WeatherBill, a company that provides a unique technology platform that enables the real-time pricing and purchasing of customizable weather insurance using proprietary global weather simulation modeling and local weather monitoring systems.