Science in Christian Perspective
Letter to the Editor
North America Cannot Feed the World
Robert A. Hedhin
910 Rieerseood Ave.
From: JASA 26
(September 1974): 133.
I am writing to comment on a statement in Journal ASA 26 (1), 12 (1974) to the effect that "the Americans would produce 60% of the food." This is a quote from a company newsletter. I expect it is always dangerous to use information from such sources without checking original documents or statistics. Although it is difficult to get up to date statistics on food production on a global basis, it is not difficult to demonstrate that the accuracy of this statement is questionable.
The U.S. has some 450 million of the world's total of 3.4 billion acres of crop land. Through the application of modern technology high yields are obtained in the U.S. on much of this crop acreage, particularly in the more humid eastern portion of the country and on the relatively small acreage of irrigated land. High yields are also obtained in other parts of the world, as, for example, in Western Europe. Therefore, on the basis of crop acreage alone the statement that the U.S. produces 60 per cent of the world's food is suspect.
Turning to statistics on fond production one is led to a similar conclusion. Wheat and rice are the major food grains used for human consumption. U.S. production of wheat is about 10 to 15 per cent of the world total and of rice less than 5 per cent.
In closing may I say that there are two reasons for my writing this letter. First, to point out an error which I would not want your excellent magazine to perpetuate. Second, that although we on the North American continent have been richly blessed, it does not include having the wherewithal to produce fond sufficient to provide the rest of the world.