BIO Webinar-Video Highlights: USDA Role in Productivity Growth and Climate Innovation

BIO webinar – video highlights: USDA Role in International Initiatives to Advance Sustainable Productivity Growth and Climate Change – September 28, 2022.

Speakers in order of appearance:

Elise Golan, Director, Sustainable Development, Office of the Chief Economist, USDA

Jaime C. Adams, Senior Policy Advisor for Climate, Office of the Under Secretary, Research, Education & Economics Mission Area, USDA

Cathy McKinnell, FAS Food Systems Summit Coordinator, Senior Policy Advisor, Trade Policy and Geographic Affairs Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA

Moderator: Nancy Travis, Vice President, International Affairs, BIO

(Source: BIO, Sept. 28, 2022)

Ag productivity is down due to climate – but USDA and biotech are on it.
Climate change poses increasing challenges to food production and supply chains. USDA is working to advance initiatives to drive agricultural biotech innovation and deployment worldwide, said experts during a BIO-sponsored webinar yesterday.

The problem: “Global agricultural productivity growth is on average 21% lower than it would have been without climate change,” said Elise Golan, Director, Sustainable Development at USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist. “This is equivalent to losing about seven years of farm productivity increases since the 1960s.”

And it’s getting worse: “The IPCC projects that as much of 30% of agricultural land worldwide could become unsuitable for farming in the coming decades,” she said.

Biotech innovations are impactful and have great potential—but they’re getting much less attention and less investment than wind and solar, explained Jaime C. Adams, a senior policy advisor at USDA.

A few international initiatives can drive investment in ag tech:
• AIM for Climate (AIM), which came out of COP26 in October, focuses on “empowering agriculture innovation to address the climate crisis,” said Adams, by bringing “agriculture to the table.”
• The Sustainable Productivity Growth Coalition, launched by the U.S. at UN Food Systems Summit last fall, seeks to optimize ag sustainability across social, economic, and environmental dimensions. The coalition has been engaged in global “messaging to convey the importance of sustainable ag productivity growth,” said Cathy McKinnell, a USDA senior policy advisor on trade and geographic affairs.