Posts Tagged ‘land’


Illinois agriculture & biotech going global presentation

Thursday 31 July, 2008

I attended this event @ the World Trade Center Illinois Agriculture: Going Global and Realizing Biotech’s Potential presented by John Power, President of LSC Intl Here are a few highlights:

Poor harvests & population growth (to 9B by 2050) are impacting world agriculture. Expanding middle classes in developing countries are straining the system. Land & water shortages are indicators of global agricultural infrastructure problems. Because of increasing yields/acre, the % of income spent on food has maintained @ 10% in the US, but continues to be 32% in South Korea, 34% in Russia, & 56% in Bangladesh. Renewable fuel targets will outstrip conventional ethanol by 2020. US ethanol fuel production is up, but suffers from short term challenges-there is an excess now which keeps prices weak. Biodiesel is still a small factor. In Europe, the common agricultural policy is becoming more like welfare, simply making farmers stewards of the countryside. US R&D policy is more effective than Europe’s directorates. Canada plays an important role specifically in wheat.

Ironically, the midwest is not well-positioned with a limited number of clusters in biotech, with Illinois ranking only 21st by the Milken Inst. Traits to consider are herbicide tolerance, insect resistance, & a combination of the 2. In this area, the private sector spends more than the public sector, which might be an indication of the problem. Research leading to new startups is weak. The challenges are we have no leaders here, no successful startups, & no focus. We need a few Boeings in this area to succeed. More regionalization & public-private partnerships would help.

I requested that John send me his presentation (based on information provided by Robert Ludwig of the Hale Group & Clive James of International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications) for me to put up here, but haven’t heard back from him.