The U.S. Agricultural industry has always stepped up and answered the call through such challenging times as war, health crises like Ebola, natural disasters such as floods and famine, and the evolution of climate change. We have survived together because we have always responded collectively and with great innovation.

The “Father of the Green Revolution,”  Dr. Norman Borlaug once said, “When the Nobel Peace Prize Committee designated me the recipient of the 1970 award…they were, I believe, selecting an individual to symbolize the vital role of agriculture and food production in a world that is hungry, both for bread and for peace.”  

Dr. Borlaug was my grandfather, and that description showcasing the significance of the agriculture industry is still true today. Especially now, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s important for the global agriculture community to come together and share how we are responding to this crisis and making a positive impact for all. 

When I was asked to contribute my voice to this column, I knew it had to be as a Call to Action to everyone in Ag. Now is the time for us to demonstrate how our passion and dedication have found solutions to the major threats we face as a collective human species: food and nutrition security, environmental stability and sustainability.

I want to highlight how the US agriculture system is stepping up and providing  #HopeThruAg by sharing personal stories about what we each do to build a safe, sustainable and resilient global agricultural system. The public is paying attention; they know that access to safe and nutritious food is critical to the health and well-being of their families.

In the past, we’ve taken the public for granted, assuming they didn’t need to fully understand the vital role the value chain plays in securing our food supply. It’s even been hard for us to explain our work internally to each other. And, too often, we have relied on a few dominant voices to speak on behalf of us. That was wrong. Power and influence about agriculture and food security should come from the many and not a few. 

We need to talk about this with our families, friends and the greater public - over dinners, on social media and every communication platform. We need to highlight that there is truly #HopeThruAg as our scientists develop and maintain cutting-edge innovations and research.

We need to hear from our farmers and frontline workers about how they bring stronger, more nutritious crops to market:

  • How the industry is on target to provide farmers with much-needed seeds for the upcoming planting season
  • About our success with the value chain in keeping stocked shelves and fresh produce in our grocery stores
  • From the data scientists dealing with global food shortages, plant diseases, and pest epidemics like Africa is facing with the locust outbreak
  • With information about food safety innovations to ensure importing and exporting can continue.

These domestic agriculture achievements can provide hope to all of us in this uncertain time, a time that is also an amazing opportunity to relate these messages to the public. They share our common goal for global food security so let’s actively engage with them. The agricultural community can help provide answers and calm their anxieties. We must rise to the occasion, share our individual stories and ask the public to do the same. 

My grandfather always said the success of the Green Revolution was due to the thousands of hunger fighters who stepped up. Let’s draw again from the passion and commitment of those hunger fighters but in the millions and remember our neighbors, food banks, and the need of global organizations like the World Food Program. 

Together the US and global agricultural community can share our collective innovative spirit for the good of all and spread #HopeThruAg.

Julie Borlaug, Vice President for Communications & Public Relations at Inari. @JulieBorlaug

Editor's Note: Agri-Pulse and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs are teaming up to host a monthly column to explore how the US agriculture and food sector can maintain its competitive edge and advance food security in an increasingly integrated and dynamic world.