Panhandle Ag Summit focuses on 2050

The Panhandle Agricultural Summit brought producers and ag leaders together to think about the future of the region and the state. One common challenge will be the need to feed a growing world population. In a interview with KNEB/Rural Radio Network, University of Nebraska Vice President and Harlan Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dr. Ronnie Green says we all need to think about how we are going to meet those future challenges today.

"Certainly we're really focused on thinking about how Nebraska will continue to grow as an epic center of food production for a growing planet and people around the world," Green said.

Its projected there will be over 9 billion people on the planet by 2050. Ninety percent of that growth will that increase in growth in population will be Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. University of Nebraska Director of the Engler Entrepreneurship Program Dr. Tom Field sees this as a opportunity for the state's livestock industry.

"Middle class consumers worldwide, regardless of culture, regardless of region, regardless of country, increase the quality of their diet," Field said. "Animal protein becomes a key part of that. In some places cases dairy and lamb, other cases pork, poultry and beef , some places poultry and beef, other places just poultry or just pork, but it creates a huge opportunity".

Nebraska has fertile, diverse land that is situated over top to the Ogallala Aquifer. Water Attorney Lee Orton says timing is critical to having enough water available for water users. For the state's water resource to be sustainable, he believes more needs to be done.

"In order for Nebraska to be at the forefront, in my opinion, we are going to have to begin to invest Nebraska money in preserving, protecting and properly utilizing the water supply we have available to us," Orton said. "That's what the water policy tax force is all about. I think that is a good first step, if we can move forward from that process at this point".

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