Over the summer, I have had the opportunity to participate in several academic and industry meetings focused on poultry production and processing, and invariably, at some point someone will bring up what I am calling the Global Food Grand Challenge. Simply put, the United Nations estimates that by 2050 the global population will grow by roughly 25 percent to 9.1 billion people , but the amount of land available for growing food will remain at best constant and more realistically will most likely decline . This presents a real challenge for the broader agricultural community as it will be asked to supply wholesome and nutritious foods to a growing planet with fewer resources and inputs.
The good news is that every time it has been challenged like this, the agricultural community has responded by innovating and driving higher yields and better outputs. One common thread has been the role of technology in making these gains possible. It is clear that advanced technologies will play an ever-increasing role in developing solutions to meet the Global Food Grand Challenge. To this end, the University of Georgia, Georgia Department of Agriculture, and Georgia Institute of Technology are collaborating to launch an initiative that will position Georgia as a leader in the development of advanced technologies for food and agriculture.
The Georgia Agritechnology Innovation Initiative will leverage the strengths of Georgia’s two flagship universities to develop, refine, and deploy new technologies that lie at the intersection of agricultural, science, and engineering disciplines. This interdisciplinary approach will lay the foundation for transformational innovation in modern agricultural production and food processing.
If fully realized, the initiative could spawn a new ecosystem of start-up companies focused on high-tech agriculture that spurs further economic development, job creation, and technology commercialization around the largest business sector in the state. This would truly position Georgia as the “go-to place” for advanced technologies for agriculture, thereby shaping the future of agritechnology and helping to create a more resilient and robust food supply here in Georgia and beyond.
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