Criticism of modern U.S. agricultural production practices and the desire of some to move toward organic and local methods would affect lives on a global scale according to the next Heuermann Lecturer.

Public misconception about modern ag could have global impactRobert Paarlberg will present the need for agricultural advocates to defend modern agricultural practices at the next Heuermann Lecture, presented at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on Feb. 27.

In his lecture titled “Our Culture War Over Food and Farming,” Paarlberg will discuss how a change by American agriculture to fit consumers demanding organic, local and slow food will be felt worldwide.

Some people "have concluded that our dominant food and farming systems are unhealthy, unsafe, environmentally unsustainable and socially unjust," Paarlberg said in a University of Nebraska release.

Public misconception about modern ag could have global impact

"In place of large scale, highly specialized and highly capitalized farming systems, they want a return to smaller scale systems that integrate crop and livestock production," he added.  "In place of internationally traded foods they want local foods.  In place of genetically engineered food they want organic food, and in place of fast food they want slow food."

Paarlberg notes many developing countries are following organic and local practices, resulting in low productivity. He says many of the poorest countries in Africa and Asia will be more hesitant to adopt modern practices if they aren’t supported by U.S. consumers.

Heuermann Lectures stream live at http://heuermannlectures.unl.edu, and are archived at that site shortly after the lecture. 

Paarlberg is the co-author of one book and author of eight including "Food Politics:  What Everyone Needs to Know,” and "Starved for Science:  How Biotechnology is Being Kept Out of Africa." Previous lectures in the series addressed modern livestock handling practices and the United State’s role in global food production and the need for more interest in agricultural research and development.