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University of Minnesota Extension

Soybean symposium

How resilient is our Global Food System? 

The 2020 Soybean Symposium was presented as an interactive webinar. The presentations, along with Q&A sessions are available below.

Today’s global food production system hinges on the low-cost and efficient production, transport, and processing of cereal and protein grains.  Global production and trade have evolved over the past 75 years to provide previously unimagined variety and quantity of food products at low cost to populations on every continent.

However, efficiencies often come at some cost. It's naive to think that today’s global food production system could be immune to internal and external disruptions. The question is whether current and future disruptions will result in an evolution or in a revolution in our global food production systems.

The 2020 Soybean Symposium leaned on recent major global events as examples of internal and external events that may test the resiliency of global food production systems. We considered the effects of several factors on the current global food system:

  • Recent geopolitical disruptions (tariffs) 
  • Novel animal diseases, such as Asian Swine Fever (ASF) and Avian Influenza
  • Human disease outbreaks (COVID-19)
  • Environmental and societal challenges (climate change, water and soil quality, water and carbon costs, ecosystem preservation, animal welfare, and local and organic food demand) 

Topics and speakers

Watch the videos with an open mind and enjoy the discussions of the (bright or bleak?) future of our industry.  

Morning demand side presentations

The morning topics and speakers include the following:

  • Introduction and opening comments
    Dr. Seth Naeve, Extension soybean agronomist and Bill Gordon, ASA president and Minnesota farmer
  • Global Trade Update
    Ed Usset
  • China Update: The latest on ASF and COVID-19 from the ground
    Dr. Lin Tan,
  • Demand Side Q&A
    Usset, Lin, Mishek, Gordon

Afternoon supply side presentations

The afternoon topics and speakers include the following:

  • Animal Production: Is global animal production susceptible to novel disease outbreaks?
    Drs. Kaushi Kanankege and Marie Culhane
  • The Changing Climate of Minnesota and the Upper Midwest
    Kenneth Blumenfeld
  • Crop Production: Can we continue to do business as usual
    Todd Peterson
  • Supply Side Q&A

(the remaining videos will be available soon)

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