As I went through a few files from my days in Mississippi, I came across a photo that I knew I would need to share for National Ag Day. The photo was an awareness piece done in March 2007 and showcased the rising world population as well as ag day. It was a fun play on the concept of living in cotton.
The project was something that we thought was a bit of fun. We made pocket-sized cards for various people in the cotton industry to have in hand as they went about their day-to-day. I remember handing them out at banks as I did business, stores as I paid for things I was buying, etc. This year, I’ve decided to make myself some personal social media business cards. I want to put my contact information on one side, and have a few different photos with facts on the other side.
What stands out for me though as I look at this today, is the fact that just 5 years ago, the population was six billion and growing. I remember going through the ideas. We talked about a lot of ideas before settling on the “living in cotton” concept with the “who would want to live in polyester line. The global population was still pretty close to 6 and yet here five years later the population has grown to more than 7 billion!
There is a calculator that shows the growing world population in real-time, I snapped this screenshot as I got ready to publish this post. By the time I wrote a few words here and went back to copy and paste the information, I found, growth had already added quite a few people. click on the image to see how its changed since I grabbed the screen shot! Check out the stats:
Population growth today
- Births today 320,252
- Deaths today 136,777
- Net population growth today 183,475
Population growth this year
- Births this year 24,261,208
- Deaths this year 10,361,750
- Net population growth this year 13,899,458
Impact on Agricultural Demand
These growing numbers have a definite impact on agriculture in the United States and globally as farmers look to supply food for their communities. With that kind of population growth, we need to continue the productivity gains farmers have been making for the past few decades while also reducing the environmental footprint of each bushel or bale harvested. That’s the shared goal of virtually everyone I know in agriculture as we look to squeeze more crop from every drop of water and seek ways to produce more on the finite and precious soil.
As I’ve traveled beautiful off-the-beaten path locations in Asia particularly, I’ve noticed more people who have been able to improve their situation in life. As agricultural productivity grows, their lives improve. And as that happens, people are moving from a world where they may only have one or two pairs of clothes to having more. At the same time, myself and friends here in the U.S. are cutting back on consumerism and we are recycling more than ever before. Those changes in resource uses though, are not substantial enough to make up for the growing population and the increasing demand that comes with it.
All of that is Weighing on My Mind for “Ag Day”
A growing world population and fewer resources from which to meet demand for critical things like food…. That’s big stuff. But that’s the sort of big stuff that floats through a farmer’s mind as they make seed purchases for the coming year and consider whether the irrigation technology they have is “up to snuff.” I’m not sure where all I’ll be going or what all I’ll be doing on ag day, but I feel certain, I’ll have the chance to share some “thank a farmer” and “farmers rock” moments along the way. And yes, I’ll throw in a “we cotton to farmers” for good measure.
Hope you celebrate as well!
- How the world’s population jumped from 3 to 7 billion in my lifetime (africahealth.wordpress.com)
Bruce Sallan says
JP, do you think we’ve even come close to exhausting the planet’s agricultural resources? I read somewhere that the WHOLE world could fit into Texas and use JUST the rest of the United States to farm and we’d ALL thrive…and that fit was something like a quarter acre per family!
Janice Person says
I’d love to find that article because it seems to differ from the sources I’ve read. The availability of fresh water for agricultural use & drinking, etc. seems to be the resource that is in greatest demand globally. There is a lot of land that really isn’t suitable for agricultural production — thinking of the US, the Rockies would cut a big swath out — and some land is only suitable for specific crops. And I have to wonder with the population continuing growing, if even the great state of Texas could be big enough. Perhaps that was a US only projection? If anyone can find the source, I’d really love to read it…. you’ve got me wondering about a lot of things!