The new head of the Purdue University Extension program’s agriculture and natural resources programs says he’ll focus on food security, which could mean butting heads with activists opposed to genetically-modified crops.
If recent marches against agriculture company Monsanto are any indication, there are plenty of people concerned that too many crops are produced by lab techs first and farmers second.
Purdue University Extension Director Mike Schutz knows he’ll encounter these people as head of the Purdue’s ag program, but he says it’s a necessary conversation to have when the over-arching topic is how to feed the 9 billion people the world could have by mid-century.
“That’s a tightrope that we walk, because our mission is really to be based on delivery of science-based information that’s sound. We try to avoid taking political stances on issues, but sometimes we do have to advocate for important concepts such as GMO crops,” he says.
Schutz says he’ll advocate an approach where farms of all sizes feed the world’s grain silos and butcher shops.
“I think we’re just going to have to appreciate the diversity of agriculture in Indiana, with lots of exciting things happening for smaller and local produced foods, as well as commercial agriculture that’s going to be such a big part of the solution to global food production,” he says.