The global clock is ticking, adding people every minute. Estimates are by 2050 there will be nine billion people to feed. Right now there are nearly 7 billion. Marcos Fernandez says that is a challenge. He likes to turn challenges into opportunities.
Fernandez is associate dean in the Purdue University College of Agriculture. Here for about 8 months, he likes Purdue's direction in placing a high value on teaching students. He believes students hold the key to helping answer this challenge.
There will be 9 billion people to feed, and you're going to be asked to do it on less land," he says. "You will also be asked to do it with a less stable energy situation."
And just to make things interesting, he notes, you will be expected to not only maintain quality of the environment, but improve it, all while producing more on less land.
The flip side of a challenge is an opportunity, he says. "Now is the time for agriculture to step forward," he emphasizes. "You're going to be asked to produce as much food in the next 40 years as has been produced in the past 10,000 years altogether. The time for agriculture is now."
He believes science and technology will play a leading role in helping agriculture rise up to the challenge. Farmers and those who serve them will develop technology to figure out how to producer that much food and do it in an environmentally responsible manner.Fernandez was in Franklin to help the Franklin FFA celebrate FFA Week when he made those comments. He assured a room full of parents and high school students that if they wanted an exciting career and a good chance of getting a job after high school, they were in the right place.