The Growler

Agriculture in 2050: The Path Forward

As the third speaker in our series on genetically engineered crops, Mr. Hunter examines how many people we need to feed by 2050 and how this can be done sustainably.


Mitch Hunter is a PhD candidate in Agronomy at Penn State University, working with Dr. David Mortensen in the Weed and Applied Plant Ecology Lab. He is first author on a important paper, co-authored with Dave Mortensen, that disputes the widely repeated claim that food production must double by 2050 to feed the world’s growing population. “In the coming decades, agriculture will be called upon to both feed people and ensure a healthy environment,” says Hunter. “Right now, the narrative in agriculture is really out of balance, with compelling goals for food production but no clear sense of the progress we need to make on the environment. To get the agriculture we want in 2050, we need quantitative targets for both food production and environmental impacts.”

Mr. Hunter draws inspiration from time spent working on Hunter family farms in Minnesota and Illinois and on ranches in California and Nevada. Prior to coming to Penn State he was the Federal Policy Manager with American Farmland Trust in Washington, DC, where he promoted on-farm conservation in the federal Farm Bill. He received a B.A. in Government from Harvard University following two years of liberal arts study, self-governance, and student labor at Deep Springs College.