Soy Offers Sustainable Solution to Providing Protein
By Amanda Prince
October 16th will mark the 33rd annual observance of World Food Day. The date signifies the conception of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and promotes a mission to bring individuals and organizations together to commit to end hunger and malnutrition globally. The 2014 theme is ?Family Farming: Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth.? Family farming is a key component to ending hunger, as there are more than 500 million family farms in the world, and 87% of farms in the U.S. are owned and operated by families or individuals.
The FAO estimates that there are 803 million hungry people globally and 46.5 million hungry people in America. The number of those who are suffering from malnutrition, including not getting the recommended amount of protein, is even higher. With a population that is only expected to keep growing, maintaining current levels of protein production would cause strain on many natural resources.
For many reasons, soy and soy products can help end the hunger issues being faced by the world.
Farmers are able to grow more soy crops with fewer natural resources, because soy requires less water, less energy to cultivate and a smaller demand for land as more crops are grown with fewer acres than ever before. These factors make soy a cost-effective and sustainable source of protein.
There are approximately 280,000 soybean producers in the United States.
Did you know: In Illinois, there are more than 9 million acres of soybeans harvested every year, making it the state with the highest production. (In 2014 they are expected to produce over 560 million bushels of soybeans!)
Meet Soy Family Farmers
Consumers can put a face to the source of their food with some of our country?s soybean farmers.
Deb Moore, Illinois
After marrying into the farming life more than 30 years ago, Deb Moore from Roseville, Illinois has turned farming into a way of life and also a business for herself, her husband, and her three children. ?We have the opportunity to work with our children and teach them a good work ethic. We grow and raise food for others while being our own boss,? Deb says of the pride she has in her farm and in their products. Her personal farming philosophy is to ?Do your best and take pride in what you do, while protecting the land for future generations.?
Mike Harrison, Maryland
Mike Harrison, a farmer in Woodbine, Maryland, was born into agricultural life more than 50 years ago on his father?s farm. In looking back through the seven generations of farmers that came before him and his father, Mike describes farming as his ?heritage and it?s in my blood.? Him and his wife of almost 40 years, Ann, believe the farm is a great way for their family to come together to provide valuable hard work and also have fun. ?My personal philosophy on farming,? he said, is ?With world population exploding and grain reserves shrinking, farmers will have to become more efficient and rise to the task.?
Chad Bartek, Nebraska
As a fourth generation farmer from Ithaca, Nebraska, Chad Bartek?s family has been harvesting food from their land since 1918. Having been raised in a culture that focuses on family farming practices and early mornings in the fields, Chad enjoys working directly on the land and knowing that the grain and soybeans he harvests directly goes to feed people or to the livestock that will in turn provide sustenance for those people. Chad believes, ?Taking care of the land allows us to produce as much grain as possible, giving the next generation the chance to farm, as I have. It?s also important for us to be involved in the community in which we live.”
The Soyfoods Association of North America and many of its members are working to help bring quality protein to feed those who suffer from hunger, to improve diets and health, and to empower and support family farmers in the U.S. and all over the world.
Let?s celebrate our national (and international) family farmers and all join in the movement to end hunger! Find out more at WorldFoodDayUSA.org.