Simmons explained that hunger can appear in many different forms and levels, but the reality is that agriculture has the tools to improve production to account for the growing population and possibly more importantly, the growing middle class.
He noted that the increasing demand for meat, milk and eggs will go unmet unless farmers and food producers worldwide support innovations in agriculture. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, producers will need to make 70% more food by 2050, and 70% of that increased production will need to come from innovative solutions to optimize the efficiency of how animals are raised and food is grown.
Simmons offered three interworking solutions to ensure food production increases – supporting innovation, protecting choice and empowering trade.
According to Simmons, innovations like rbST, ractopamine and antibiotics in food animals are all examples of technology that will be necessary to improve the amount of protein produced without requiring more land and water.
To increase awareness and understanding of the solutions, Simmons proposed a year-long effort to generate a commitment from 10,000 people to make food security their cause, generate 1 million positive impressions each week about food security, and determine how agriculture can feed 1 billion people in the next 5-7 years using fewer resources.
"We've got enough innovation, let's take our pipelines and find out how we can feed a billion more people," he said, calling on public and private commitments for food security.
Simmons' discussion coincided with World Food Day, an event also punctuated by the kickoff of the 2013 Borlaug Dialogues, hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation. Borlaug, a lifelong advocate for food security and innovation, is the namesake of the CAST award which Simmons collected.
The event, which runs for three days, aims to take a deeper look at the challenges facing agriculture in the future, and how public and private partnerships can advance agricultural technology and production to meet the needs of a growing population.