Corteva Agriscience Global Plant Breeding Leader Geoff Graham told attendees of the 2020 USDA Ag Outlook Forum that advanced plant breeding techniques and proven success in improving crop productivity in developed regions provides a road map to managing risk from food insecurity and climate volatility around the world. The USDA Forum is focused on Innovation in Agriculture and earlier today U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the Agriculture Innovation Agenda. Graham’s remarks were made as part of a session track on managing risk and ensuring sustainability in production agriculture.
“Not only is agricultural productivity critical to meeting the demands of a growing population, it’s also a critical tool to combat climate volatility,” said Graham. “We have proven that innovative breeding technologies such as molecular markers, precision phenotyping, predictive analytics, biotechnology, CRISPR and digital tools can help agriculture better manage the challenges of extreme weather.”
USDA Risk Management Agency Administrator Martin Barbre chaired the “Mitigating Production Risk” panel discussion during the Forum, which centered on the challenges that farmers and government decision makers face during growing seasons with extreme weather conditions. He noted that 2019 was one of the wettest farming years on record, while 2012 was one of the driest. Despite increased weather variability, overall crop yields continue to trend upward over time.