The afternoon session focused on "Sustainability and Your Food." In addition to Hord and Sippel, the panelists included Joe Logan, director of the Ohio Environmental Council, Marty Matlock, University of Arkansas biological engineer, Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, with Ohio Association of Foodbanks and Stephanie Eakins, a food blogger.
Matlock pointed out that 43% of the earth's surface is devoted to agriculture. He warned that future growth would come from development of tropical lands and result in a loss in biodiversity. He warned that any return to subsistence farming would raise problems. "We need prosperity agriculture not subsistence agriculture," he said.
Hord and Sippel offered production contrasts. While Sippel farms 77 acres, he notes that to some of the food producers he markets with that is considered a large farm. Hord Livestock includes 2800 acres of grain production, 100 growing partners and 100 team members in the operation. "Our mission is feeding families through sustainable production," Hord said. "I'm excited by what Ben (Sippel) is doing. It takes types of producers. We need all hands on deck and we need to work together."
Hamler-Fugitt pointed out that 47 million Americans struggle to get the resources they need to feed themselves. She urged continuation government food programs. "To be a viable nation we need a secure agriculture. We subsidize our malls. Why not incentivize the ability to expand our agriculture."
Blogger Eakins noted that her readers wanted farmers to be able a food supply that was safe for humans, the environment and healthy for animals.