Big and little growers will need to increase output.
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The challenge of feeding an expected world population of over 9 billion in 2050 — at least 2 billion more than today — has attracted considerable attention, resulting in a wide range of responses. A year and a half ago, the expectation was that the world’s agricultural production would have to increase by 70 percent over the following 38 years. In our November 11, 2012 column, we pointed out that using conventional technology we were able to move from feeding a world population of 4 billion in 1974 to feeding 7 billion in 2012 — an increase of 75 percent over a 38-year period. The expected population increase between 2012 and 2050 was 28 percent.