Farmscape for February 3, 2017
An Air Quality Specialist with the University of California Davis says the persistent red barn image of agriculture is misleading the public and needs to be dispelled if modern agriculture is to be free to meet the challenge of feeding the world.
Over the past 40 years the world's population has doubled and we can expect the world's population to increase by another 50 percent over the next 40 years.
Dr. Frank Mitloehner, a Professor and Air Quality Specialist with the Department of Animal Science at the University of California Davis, says, to feed that growing population, agriculture must be allowed to become as efficient as possible.
Clip-Dr. Frank Mitloehner-University of California Davis:
I think we are on the right track with respect to how we produce livestock today but we're not on the right track on how we communicate as to how we do it and why.
One of the stories that you hear our there is that in the 1950s and 1960s we had a much better agricultural production then.
Everything was greener and therefore less environmentally harmful.
The opposite is true.
We needed way more, three to four times more animals to produce the same amount of food and we did so under conditions that were not welfare enhancing.
We had to tie animals onto equipment.
We had to hand milk or hand raise animals.
We had to, or we did put manure straight into the next stream to get rid of it.
All of these things are unthinkable today.
We are a much more sustainable animal agriculture today than we were in the 1950s and 1960s but this red barn idyllic picture is in the heads of people.
They think that's what they want but I don't think they know what that entails.
Dr. Mitloehner says the animal agriculture field needs to step out of their cave and really engage with the public who increasingly often wants to know how animal protein is produced and why.
there's nothing to be hidden there's nothing to be ashamed of, people are proud and they should be but in order to stay in business they need to tell their story.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork