Grand Challenge: Food Security

Grand Challenge: To produce animal proteins in an economically, environmentally and socially acceptable manner that meets the demands of an increasing population.

In 2012, despite decades of increased food production on a per-capita basis, nearly 1 out of 7 people in the world suffers from hunger or malnourishment or both. How will food security be achieved for a world population that is expected to grow from 7 billion today to 9 billion by 2050? In addition to population growth, a rise in disposable income in developing countries is expected to further increase demand for animal products.

Addressing the grand challenge of global food security will require integration of a wide range of technical, economic, financial and political issues. To achieve global food security, farmers and ranchers must produce more food with fewer inputs, including water, cereal grains, pharmaceuticals, and labor. Research and education programs are needed to develop and implement environmentally, socially and economically sustainable animal management systems that will support this increasing demand.

Key Questions:

1)  How can sustainable animal management systems be improved to maximize efficiency while simultaneously minimizing inputs and reducing negative environmental impacts?
2)  How can the nutritional quality of animal-based foods be optimized to benefit human health and minimize obesity and malnutrition?
3)  What alternatives exist to utilize plate waste in a more environmentally sustainable manner?
4)  How can the production chain be made more efficient to minimize losses of meat, milk and eggs?
5)  How can science inform local, state and national policies that ensure global food production and food security?

Expected Outcomes:

1) A supply chain for meat, milk and eggs that minimizes waste and provides nutritious, safe, abundant and affordable animal protein for the growing global population.
2) Scientific advances that reduce the environmental impact of animal agriculture by identifying animals with increased feed efficiency, growth rate, fertility, and disease resistance.
3) Novel management practices or treatments that minimize early embryonic loss and optimize pregnancy rates in cattle, sheep and pigs.
4) Production systems that enhance lean muscle growth and milk production in an economically, environmentally and socially acceptable manner.
5) Improved nutrient content of meat, milk and eggs to minimize malnutrition and benefit human health and well-being.
6) Governmental policies and regulations at the local, state, and national level that promote sustainable animal production systems that are economically, environmentally and socially acceptable.

Download the Grand Challenges Documents

Read each section:


Animal Health

Agricultural Animals and Climate Change

Food Safety

Global Food Security

Animal Well-Being

Training the Future Workforce

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