July 22, 2020 | By Liam Condon

Featured Commentary - The Most Resilient People on Earth? Farmers.

Editor’s Note: Agri-Pulse and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs are teaming up to host a monthly column to explore how the U.S. agriculture and food sector can maintain its competitive edge and advance food security in an increasingly integrated and dynamic world.

“Farmers are the most adaptable people on this planet,” Kassi Tom-Rowland, member of Tom Farms, told me in a recent conversation, and I couldn’t agree with her more.

Kassi’s grandfather Everett Tom started their family farm in Leesburg, Indiana with 100 acres. He had chickens, cows and pigs and farmed to feed his five children. Kassi said that she credits her dad, Ambassador Kip Tom, with bringing a spirit of innovation to the farm. It began with putting up an irrigation system and evolved into a willingness to try out and adopt innovations that would enable the farm to increase productivity using fewer natural resources. 

With that same unfaltering spirit of innovation, American growers continue to lead the way in feeding the world sustainably. Recent years have tested the resiliency of farmers with trade wars, catastrophic floods, and now the COVID-19 pandemic, but farmers are #StillFarming

COVID-19 has exposed cracks in our global food system and made it clear that disruptions in food supply chains don’t recognize borders. According to a new FAO report, the pandemic could add between 83 million and 132 million people to the total number of undernourished in the world this year. We are far from achieving zero hunger. It is estimated that if recent trends continue, more than 840 million people across the world will still be haunted by hunger in 2030. As the top food exporter, the US plays a critical role in global food security. We must use this opportunity to build back better food systems that are stronger, more sustainable, more inclusive and more productive for all stakeholders along the food chain, from farmer to consumer. 

But what makes a resilient food system? From conversations with partners and customers over the past months, including a recent Chicago Council panel discussion, three essential components stand out.

>>>Read the Full Article at Agri-Pulse. 


The Global Food and Agriculture Program aims to inform the development of US policy on global agricultural development and food security by raising awareness and providing resources, information, and policy analysis to the US Administration, Congress, and interested experts and organizations.

The Global Food and Agriculture Program is housed within the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. The Council on Global Affairs convenes leading global voices and conducts independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

Support for the Global Food and Agriculture Program is generously provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


1,000 Days Blog, 1,000 Days

Africa Can End Poverty, World Bank

Agrilinks Blog

Bread Blog, Bread for the World

Can We Feed the World Blog, Agriculture for Impact

Concern Blogs, Concern Worldwide

Institute Insights, Bread for the World Institute

End Poverty in South Asia, World Bank

Global Development Blog, Center for Global Development

The Global Food Banking Network

Harvest 2050, Global Harvest Initiative

The Hunger and Undernutrition Blog, Humanitas Global Development

International Food Policy Research Institute News, IFPRI

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center Blog, CIMMYT

ONE Blog, ONE Campaign

One Acre Fund Blog, One Acre Fund

Overseas Development Institute Blog, Overseas Development Institute

Oxfam America Blog, Oxfam America

Preventing Postharvest Loss, ADM Institute

Sense & Sustainability Blog, Sense & Sustainability

WFP USA Blog, World Food Program USA


| By Roger Thurow

Our New Gordian Knot

Fifty years ago Dr. Norman Borlaug recieved the Nobel Peace Prize for cutting the "Goridan knot" of population and food production. Now the planet faces another seemingly intractable problem: how to nourish the planet while preserving the planet. 

| By Janet Fierro

Guest Commentary - Rural Niger Women find Opportunity and Hope through Innovative Business Model

When researchers set out to find natural ways to manage a crop-destroying pest in sub-Saharan Africa cowpea fields they knew the results could have significant positive impact on smallholder farmers. What they may not have expected was the significance of the cottage industry it inspired and the entrepreneurial spirit of the rural women of Niger who led it.