This piece was originally posted on Agri-Pulse.
By Jennifer Sirangelo
Editor's Note: Agri-Pulse and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs are teaming up to host a monthly column to explore how the US agriculture and food sector can maintain its competitive edge and advance food security in an increasingly integrated and dynamic world.
“A year from now, you’ll wish you would have started today.”
We often use this phrase as motivation to embark on a change or turning point in life. Today, this is how business leaders need to be thinking about agriculture and the many lives we want and need to impact around the world. We’re all familiar with the great challenges facing agriculture: by 2050, 9 billion people will need to be fed and clothed by our industry. Twenty years from now, we can’t afford to wish we would have done more to impact global food security. It’s a long-term focus on the critical resources we need to invest in today that should drive the future of agricultural development.
To make a lasting impact, we need to place a greater emphasis on our young people. Today, as the global youth population climbs to an historic high of 1.5 billion, countries worldwide are struggling to provide young people with avenues for employment and self-sufficiency. Facing issues of poverty, such as access to basic nutrition, drinkable water, shelter, sanitation, and health care, these young people are turning to 4-H for assistance. At the same time, agricultural development and the critical importance of a strong agriculture economy has re-emerged as a priority in international development aid. According to a new Chicago Council report on youth and agriculture, strong and viable agricultural sectors are essential to turning the tide of poverty.