The Oregon Natural Resources Report - Agricultural News from Oregon

Bill Gates: Digital revolution to change food, farming & cure hunger

February 26, 2012

Corn Commentary
National Corn Growers Association

Bill Gates, respected for his visionary work as founder of both Microsoft and the philanthropic Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, called for a new digital revolution . This time, instead of promoting software to improve office productivity, he passionately advocated for application of the advanced technology to help end world hunger.

Many stop reading the story here, assuming that through massive donations Gates will provide the cash needed to revolutionize farming in the developing world. A closer look turns up a more interesting, nuanced viewpoint, one which requires public recognition of the amazing technologies American farmers use today.

In short, supporting the Gates Foundation’s fight against hunger does mean supporting the use of advanced farming techniques including genetically-engineered seed varieties.

While Mr. Gates may not have always been known for his ability to fit-in or follow the “cool” crowd, he changed the world around him for the better by having the intellect to analyze a situation fully, evaluate each facet meticulously and act accordingly even when doing so required courage.

As he turned his attention to the plight of global hunger and malnutrition, Gates encountered a wealth of information on possible farming practices. Most consumers in the United States have access to a great deal of the same sources today because of Microsoft innovations he fostered decades ago. Instead of unquestioningly buying into bogus arguments cloaked in a soft, fuzzy, nuevo-hippie, organic wool sweater, he delved into the science.

What he found was that to feed our world’s growing population we need to use the most productive, innovative techniques available. To grow more food using fewer resources and creating less waste, we need the rapid-paced developments brought about by biotech engineering. Using what many consider a “dirty word”, Gates outspokenly promoted wide-spread public acceptance of biotechnology.

Afterward, when reporters questioned him during a roundtable, Gates refused to back down encouraging doubters to “go out and talk to people growing rice and say do they mind that it was created in a laboratory when their child has enough to eat?”

Pragmatic and effective, Gates sees what many do not. He sees that failure to embrace agricultural advancements directly impacts the ability of farmers to achieve their potential productivity. At the same time, feeding the world requires them not only to meet it but to push beyond its current bounds.

Join the real, active movement to end hunger by embracing Gates’ message. Farmers, scientists and their allies are working hard to create change with palpable results that fill empty bellies and nourish real people who are really hungry right now. Have the courage to be like Bill. Billions of lives depend on it.

  
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