Howard Buffett, son of billionaire Warren Buffett, recently address the Southwest Agriculture Summit. During his talk, he challenged American farmers to do better and told his audience that major agricultural reforms were needed to create a sustainable future.
While Buffett may seem an unlikely spokesperson for farming interests, he personally considers himself a farmer first and foremost. Buffett operates a 1,400 acres farm in Illinois, and overseas three farms, operated by his charitable foundation, in Arizona, Illinois, and South Africa.
While his wealth may make him seem like an unlikely farm reformer, his resources allow him to pioneer new agricultural techniques, making him free to experiment with new and innovative methods of production without worrying that one bad harvest could put him out of business.
It is in this role as agricultural reformer, that Buffett addressed his fellow farmers. In particular, Buffett spoke to the need to create a sustainable agricultural future. With United Nations predictions for 2050 estimating a global population of 10 billion, Buffett, and other agricultural advocates, have argued that American farmers need to increase their productivity. Relying on local farmers and forging ties to the local agricultural sector, Buffett argued, may be a good way to boost poor nutrition, but will not solve food insecurity.
Buffett also identified access to water resources and access to labor as two major areas that required government attention. If farmers and agricultural officials created a united front, Buffett argued, major agricultural hurdles could be cleared and the national, as well as global, community would benefit.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer