NIFA director to discuss food production

Published February 28, 2013

Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), will visit UB next week to speak on a topic of increasing concern in the 21st century: how to increase food production in the context of a burgeoning global population, changing climate and diminishing land and water resources.

Ramaswamy’s talk, “Setting the table for a flatter, hotter, more crowded Earth,” will take place at 11:30 a.m. March 6 in the Screening Room, 112 Center for the Arts, North Campus.

The talk is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.

The question, says Ramaswamy, is critical. Are we prepared to feed, clothe and shelter everyone on earth without wreaking havoc on the environment? The global population is expected to exceed 9 billion people by 2050; it has been estimated that food production will need to increase between 50 to 70 percent—or even double—from today’s production levels.

Ramaswamy was appointed director of NIFA in May 2012. He oversees NIFA funding for a wide range of research, education and extension projects that address the needs of farmers, ranchers and agricultural producers.

He served as dean of Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences and director of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station before joining NIFA.