Farm Food Facts

Farmers and Billionaires: The WFP Chief’s Plan for Solving World Hunger

December 02, 2021 USFRA Episode 116
Farm Food Facts
Farmers and Billionaires: The WFP Chief’s Plan for Solving World Hunger
Show Notes Transcript

Join USFRA and Phil Lempert as we sit down with the UN World Food Programme Chief who blames a hunger crisis on a “toxic cocktail” of conflict, climate change, disasters, poverty and inequality. 45 million people in 43 countries around the world stand at the frontlines of hunger. WFP Executive Director David Beasley says farmers can help lift millions out of poverty and make agriculture environmentally sustainable. And he says billionaires have a duty to act.

Phil:

US Farmers and Ranchers in action would like to recognize the sponsors of the 2021 Honor the Harvest Forum. Welcome to Farm Food Facts, the US Farmers and Ranchers in action live webcast. Today, we'll be taking questions live from a selected group of journalists on what is one of the most important issues of the day, world hunger. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there were 135 million people globally that did not know where their next meal was coming from today. According to today's guest , that number has spiked to over 270 million people that are at risk of starvation in all 109 people that's over 820 million people suffer from food insecurity. David Beasley is the Executive Director of the World Food Programme, a tough job at best that requires the skills of fundraising, strategizing, communication and meeting with the heads of states around the globe. And he's good. He's really good. In 2020 during the pandemic, he raised a groundbreaking $8.46 billion. But to be honest with you, that's not enough for him. He's openly challenging the 12th wealthiest individuals on the planet. Those with a net worth of 1 trillion or more to step up and to donate Governor Beasley continues his life's work bridging political, religious, and ethnic boundaries to champion economic development and education. His efforts were recognized this year when the Norwegian Nobel committee awarded WFP the 2020 Nobel peace prize before coming to lead WFP in April, 2017, governor Beasley spent a decade working with high profile leaders and on the ground program managers in more than 100 countries, directing projects designed to foster peace, reconciliation and economic progress as governor of the state of South Carolina from 1995 to 1999, he guided the state during the years of economic transformation, helping to reshape the state's economy into a healthy, diverse, and robust market. Governor Beasley was the first governor in South Carolina to make a public push for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the state Capitol dome, a move that earned him, the John F. Kennedy profile and courage award. Next week, he will be an Oslo addressing the Nobel peace prize forum on the food effect , how the pursuit production and consumption of food could unlock new possibilities for achieving sustainable development on a global scale governor, it's truly a privilege and an honor to have you join us today on Farm Food Facts

David:

Phil, it is really, really great to be with you. Thank you for hosting this and allowing us to get the message out about what we truly are facing around the world, which is unprecedented. So thank you very, very much.

Phil:

It is unprecedented, but before we get into the meat of it, I've got to tell you, I love the new look, join the club. You look very distinguished and I've got to tell you something. When, when I saw you with the beard, it said to me, this is a Nobel peace prize winner. You cooked the part, you fit the part. Exactly. So , uh , you look great.

David:

Well, I had known it was that easy to look like that I would have done this earlier, but

Phil:

So I want to take a step back up to 1979 as a member of the South Carolina house of representatives. Uh, you started to talk about the world food program. What brought you here? And what's your relationship with farmers and ranchers? I know it's a long one.

David:

No, it is. And , you know, from a rural South Carolina where I grew up and my family has been involved in farming for hundreds of years. And , uh , it's been a part of my life. I know that. And when I got elected to the house of representatives, when I was really a study microbiology, Clemson, and , uh , planning on either being a ballplayer or doctor or this or that, but I had dedicated a sense to dedicate my life, to help people. And so that's what got me into politics. And so after I was governor, and then years later , uh, moving to the tape forward , um, I got this phone call about four and a half years ago. Would I consider , uh, taking a senior position in the United nations? I said, look, I'm not interested in any position, whether with the United nations or the United States government, I'm in the private section now. And then couple of my Republican Democrat friends said, you've got to do this. You're the only one that can talk , uh, president Trump out of cutting international strategic foreign aid. And I said, well, let me let me do that. Let's still have someone else have the job and an old friend of mine , uh, former Democrat Congressman Tony Cole , uh, from Ohio , uh, Tony had been the ambassador to the world food program years ago. And, and, and you know, when I get this call about going to the unit , I'm like, whoa , whoa , whoa . I like to get things done. I'm just not, I don't see that you had been efficient, effective. That was then. And I called Tony. I said, Tony, tell me about the world food program and tell him he's a great guy. And Tony was like, oh yeah, if there's ever, God's worked on the , on the plan and this a world food program, I said, Tony, the United nations world food program , he laughed. He says, no, it's completely not what you're thinking. It's this logistics, supply chain, strategic they're out there really making a difference. And it really caught me by surprise. And now of course, four and a half years later , uh , I'm really one of the greatest advocates on the earth about the world food program and the importance of agriculture and food security for the world, because it really is critical going forward. As you mentioned some numbers and we'll get into those numbers feeling just a little bit, but we are truly facing a hunger pandemic around the world and the world does not realize it. So it's great to believe the charge. There's nothing more important than children getting something to eat. I can tell you that. And we all know that.

Phil:

Absolutely. And we're so happy. I mean, I think the Yankees are probably disappointed, but the rest of us in the , on the globe, we're very happy that you made this choice. Um , someone once complimented you on the great work that you're doing to solve hunger, but your response focused on the pain that you feel for those you haven't touched yet. What is the face of hunger look like to you? You mentioned children, but it's not just a childhood problem. It's a every age problem.

David:

Yeah. Yeah, it is. You know, and you mentioned some numbers. Uh, when I joined the world food program, four and a half years ago, the number of people not going to bed hungry, chronic hungers is now about 850 million people give or take, but crisis hunger , you know, they're marching towards starvation had serious trouble. Uh , that was 80 million when I took this job. And my goal was to put the world food program out of business, right? So we don't need world food program because hunger has been eliminated. And of course that's not what happened except through private sector. And so unbelievably , uh, right before COVID hit that number had gone. I feel from 80 million people to 135 minutes. So the first question is why did that happen? And the answer really is not complicated, manmade conflict. I mean, true wars and conflict compounded with climate shocks, climate change. Well COVID comes along and just exacerbates every weakness, global shutdowns, economic shutdown, supply, train shutdowns , and the ripple effect of COVID because I warned the leaders at the United nations security council. If you're not careful, the cure is going to be worse than the disease. You must be extremely careful. And so the number of people marching towards starvation, they went from 135, as you mentioned, the 270, but as of the last month, it's now up to 285 million in what we call ABC three, four, five, that's people marching towards starvation. Now here's, what's really shocking out of that 45 million are knocking on family's door in 43 countries. And if we don't reach those people in a $6 billion, just to reach those 45 million people, if we don't, you will have not just family . You will have destabilization of nations and you will have mass migration in the cost of that will be a thousand times more than feeding the people we're talking about. So it is at crisis mode right now. And you turn on the media, you don't hear about this. It's all about COVID COVID COVID or two years ago is all Trump, Trump, Trump, or Brexit, Brexit, Brexit. And the media has really lost this balance to provide, I call, you know, a comprehensive overview of global issues. And so that's what I'm now jumping up and down saying, look, you need to understand what's coming in the next six to nine months. And these 45 countries is going to be horrific. You remember in the height of COVID you go to the store, you could get toilet paper, he could get, you know, whatever. Well, if that's happening in the most sophisticated supply chain system in the world, what do you think has happened in Ethiopia or Chad or Molly or Nisa air or whatever the case may be. And so we're in an unprecedented precipice right now, a perfect storm of conflict COVID and climate change just really wreaking havoc around the world.

Phil:

Governor I'd like to build on two points that you said. Um, when I go back to my history lessons in college , um, what I, what I remember is that when we look at war, when we look at conflicts , uh, for centuries, very often, it was started by people not having food , um , against the people who had food. And then to your point about COVID , um, and again, you know, from a , from a food industry standpoint, we've been watching with COVID, we've been talking to retailers, we've been doing everything we can to your point. Very little attention has been given to solving hunger. We've all seen on TV, the, the miles and miles of cars, of people who are going to food banks. Uh, we, we get that, but nobody's really talking except you about how we're going to solve this issue. And I think those two points are so critical of how can we, how can we create a solution , uh, globally, and certainly here in the U S and through the UN to address hunger as a solution to both of these issues.

David:

You know, I , I tell the leaders, I said, you , you need to understand how serious this stuff is. I said, it's one thing when there's not enough food and Molly or Nisha or Chad or DRC, but wait, till there's not enough food in Chicago or New York or London in Paris, I said, you will see hell on earth. And I said, we've got to get ahead of the curve now, because what we're seeing, you know , the population growth we're struggling now, which we should not be. And here's, what's really remarkable field. 200 years ago, 95% of the people on earth work in extreme poverty, extreme poverty. Now, today, listen to them . What happened? We built systems and structures and institutions. We put them in place and we're sharing more wealth and more, more hope at any time period, world history. But now for the first time in the last four years, we're going backwards. And if we're struggling now with all the technology and all the that we have today with 7.7 billion people, what do you think is going to happen? When is 10 billion people, and we're looking at with displacement because of climate shock, those numbers will be spiking out of the roof. That's going to cost us billions upon billions of dollars. So we've got to come up with solutions now. And quite frankly, it's solvable. There's no reason a single child on earth should today should go to bed hungry. And the answer is not, there'll be the United nations and it's not going to be charity and charity loan. Those things were very, very important. The issue is going to be farmers, agricultural sector, private sector, engaged, taking advantage of the expertise that out there that's out there that took us from 95%, but less than 10% in the past 200 years. And moving that forward in places that are struggling around the world.

Phil:

So I've been noticing on social media, you've become quite the powerhouse on social media. And you've reached out to Elon Musk, not to take a space X flight , uh , but to ask them for money. Why do you think that people like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos and all these other billionaires should be held accountable for solving world hunger?

David:

Well, I come from the private sector and when the private sector is engaged, we solve problems. Now, when you look at the height of COVID, the billionaires, just in one particular timeframe , uh , was $1.8 trillion of net worth increase. All we need is $6 billion. Now, as I'm telling the billion years, I'm not asking you to step up charitably every year, but we have a perfect storm, a one time phenomenon right now. And if we don't do it, we're going to pay a multiple, multiple price. Like I said earlier, the governments have been tapped out. Uh , when I made this pitch a year ago, the government stepped up, but we thought that COVID would be behind us by this year, but it recycled again and again. And so it exacerbated an already weak economy in many places around the world. And so the governments had done the , you know , the economic stimulus package and it's spending trillions of dollars. And so there's just not the money available to step up to what we need to do. And so we need an extra $6 billion, this one-time phenomenon. And so when I , when I look at, you know, the base oceans and the , and the Elon Musk, et cetera , who made just trillion over 1.8 trillion , uh, in the past year or so. And I say past year in the height of COVID , uh, an average of it was over $5.2 billion per day. Uh, and I'm not picking on, I may look, Hey, I'm so glad that capitalism has given you this success, but you have a moral obligation to step up and help the world in time, such as this. And then I'm hoping that locate helped me this one time. And now what with us to help us solve hunger problems and better supply chains and better agricultural opportunities for the poor around the world. Because if you do that, I mean, you built rockets and cell phones and all this extraordinary stuff, walk with us to solve the hunger problem for the future of the world. Because if people don't have water, don't have food. You can talk about all this other stuff all day long. You can go a few weeks without food. You know , you just can't do it unless last I've heard . But, but anyway, I think Phil , the Bain heirs have an opportunity to really step up and help the world. And, you know, we're not 6 billion sounds like a lot of money, but when you've got the number of billionaires, we have that much, well, what's $6 billion Alice Hill , Elon Musk. I said, look, if you'll do this, your stock will go up that much in one day and just one day. And it just would be a wonderful thing to do. And that's what to say, literally 45 million people's lives. And so I'm hoping that they'll step up. We'll see.

Phil:

We can only hope and , and with people such as you pressuring them and we all need to pressure them. Uh , hopefully we can have some change. Uh , this morning, I just read a report of a woman who's working at a major us retailer , uh , for 12 years, she's now finally gotten up to $6 and I think it's 23 cents an hour, and she can't afford to buy groceries at the retailer that she works at. And, you know, we're talking about somebody who's working, who's worked hard for 12 years, major retailer, who is showing record profits during the pandemic. And you know what we need all these billionaires to do, where they head up , um, you know, space programs or, or electric cars or food retailers is to really take a look at what they're taking out as you know , bonuses during pandemic and maybe giving, you know, something back,

David:

You know, Phil, I haven't met and I'm out there. We think about 120, 115 , 120 million people on any given day, week, or month. And we're out there. We're, we're, we're on the ground with these people. And I haven't met one yet that wanted to sit around and say, feed me, feed me. They want to be resilient. They don't want outside support, but they're down on the ground struggling. And I was just in Syria , uh, two weeks ago, Afghanistan, a couple of weeks ago, meeting with mothers. They have no jobs. They have no money. They have no food and women are selling the one child. Uh, and the hopes that that child have a better life to get some money to feed their other children. It is as bad as you can imagine. And because of economic deterioration and supply chain disruption , for example, I was in the Aleppo in library of meeting with mothers and we're being six and a half million people in Syria right now , uh , in the Aleppo area, food is now seven times more expensive than it was just two years ago because supply chain costs have increased substantially. Shipping's going up three to 400% and I can keep your fertilizers are going up, et cetera, et cetera. And when I talk to the families, you know , they want to take care of their own children. They don't want handouts. They , they really don't. And so this is where the United States and the agricultural community, our farmers and our ranchers have been the backbone of providing help for over a hundred years around the world. And thank God, the compassionate, the American heart of helping people. I remember in the story you were really talking about a little while ago was I was doing that . It was a 60 minute show with Scott Pelley an hour , had an extensive interview about Yemen, how bad it was. And Scott at the end of the interview was taken off the Mike. And he looked at me and he says, governor. He said, you've got the greatest job on earth. You know , many millions of people. And I looked at Scott and I said, Scott, I do, I really do, but I will tell you something you hadn't thought of and just go bother you. And he looked at me like, what, what could that be? You know? And I said, Scott, I don't go to bed at night thinking about the children. We say, I go to bed at night, really weeping over the children. We couldn't reach him and we don't have enough money or the access. We need a Sysco . We have to choose who eats and who doesn't eat , who lives, who dies? I said, how would you like that job? And you looked at me like, oh my God, I never thought about that. And I said, well, we have to think about that every day, because that's what we face when we don't have the money we need. And so it's a real situation out there. And when, you know, there's $420 trillion worth of wealth on the earth today in a child, dies from hunger. I mean, during COVID, I think we had over 4 million people die from COVID at the same time, about 17 million of that from hunger. And now with the economic ripple effect, we're could be looking at that number being multiple times higher. So it's a serious, serious matter where if they should feel it really is.

Phil:

And to , to be honest with you, if we fed people , um , if we fed people and fed them good nutrition, their resistance, their immunity to ward off diseases , um, like COVID is , is that much better? So we're really doing a disservice to the , the entire globe by not feeding these people and building up their immunity.

David:

Yeah , we've seen it firsthand. And , uh , if I did Nigeria, wasn't been done the initial lockdowns over a year and a half ago. Uh, I can just say you had a thousand people, this one city died from a COVID in a million, went into extreme food insecurity. And so when they go into severe food insecurity, their immune system, the malnutrition, everything starts to decline, as you can imagine. So then they, BAFF a malaria that theory a cholera or whatever the case may be. Uh, and we don't really put the equation to that. And so I , this is what we're facing right now. We're $6 billion short of what we need to reach everybody in that IPC level four, we're knocking on family's door. And I'm like, well, where am I going to get that money from? I will take it from the children in these year or Molly or Ethiopia to help those children. I said, that would be horrendous. And we'll pay for Germany, did a study , uh, with the Syrian crisis. And in five years, a million refugees ended up in Germany for $125 billion. And just give you a five-year picture that 70, some odd dollars per day, that same Syrian, if we reach them inside the masters or in Syria is 50 cents a day. And the Syrian doesn't want to be in Germany. They want to be home. That's that's family, that's their history, that's their culture. And you see what we're talking about. It's a lot more expensive to deal with it when they leave the country with all the humanitarian support calls versus helping them at home and getting their feedback on the ground, giving them the water, they need to harvest their crops and take care of themselves. And so we're facing some pretty, the next six to nine months are going to be absolutely horrific. We were running out of money in multiple countries right now, and I don't know what we're going to do. I really know, but you'll have mass migration coming down our border from the dry Carter down in central America, you will have from the Sahara and one in Europe, Afghanistan, and the list goes on and on.

Phil:

And if I, if I have my numbers, correct , um, you're now serving 88 different countries around the globe. Is that correct?

David:

80, a little over 80 countries. Okay.

Phil:

80 countries. And also, I think it's important to point out that we're not just talking about , um , you, the governor Beasley, you know, going out there sending tweets to be ZOS , um , and Musk and, you know, meeting with president Biden and doing all this stuff. But you've also got a staff to manage of about 18,000 people globally.

David:

You know, it's now 20,000 , uh, it's getting bigger, bigger, cause the hunger's getting worse and worse. You know, when I arrived at the world food program, like I was saying earlier, my goal was to put the world food program out of business, but because of manmade conflict and climate extremes and the issues that we're talking about, it's getting worse and worse and worse. I mean, my job was to do food for asset programs, redesign agricultural opportunities, where you have droughts and flooding and how we come in, for example , um , and not many people realize this, but I believe that every able body , uh , recipient of food should be in a community improvement project. You know, if they're able bodied, because honestly all our recipients won't do improve the quality of life for their children, no different than families in the United States. And so just in the past few years, our beneficiaries have rehabilitated over three and a half million acres of land in basic fundamental water harvesting over a hundred thousand kilometers of feeder roads have been built of 60, 70,000 kilometers of water canals. We built 50, 60,000 , uh , holding ponds, small dams, reservoirs. So families can take care of themselves cause we'd like to come in creates resilience and sustainability. And this is not even getting into better seeds , better fertilizers that are practices in some of these places, you're talking about 13 , 14th century type operations. So while we'll dealing with the high technology and our parts of the world, they're just trying to survive in their parts of the world. And here's what happens in some of these places like Nigeria , Mali , Chad, Bettina Pasa . Uh, if we're not there, I says uses food as a weapon of recruitment. And if we can come in with our food for asset progress, rehabilitating the land and been specially complimented with a stool , like a home grown school meals program. Let me tell you what happened. Migration drops off the chart. You can economically quantify that by itself. Marriage rate of 12 and 13 year olds and teen pregnancy of 12, 13, 14 year olds, for example, drops off the chart, quantify that economically. And the recruitment by ISIS Al-Qaeda Boca rom or Al Shabaab drops off the chart dramatically because there are many who love to use food as a weapon of war in division. When there's not food, you have conflict. And when you have conflict, you have hunger. So it was all in a related and we're going to pay a price one way or the other, why not do it the right way? It's more efficient, more effective and cheaper to do it the right way.

Phil:

And also the way you're describing the right way. When we look at agriculture's also giving people the tools to have a life. It's not just giving them a box of food once, but they're going to have food for the rest of their lives. So what do we collectively need to do to raise awareness of the importance of the next 30 harvests and why this decade matters now in agriculture ,

David:

Uh, this decade men , big time , uh , when we look at the future and the numbers , uh, everybody should be alarmed, but unfortunately the media is not balancing that display of information out there like it should. Uh, but we , we've got an opportunity when you look at the, just in the United States alone, the agricultural expertise for the farmers and ranchers that care about their care, about the planet, care about the children and the more productive we can be and then take those best practices and put them in places in Africa and rest of the world. There's no reason we can't in Hungary, quite frankly, you know, the S the SDGs, the sustainable development goals, like number two in world hunger about 2030 at really is , is doable. But with manmade conflict and all the things we're facing, we're going in the wrong direction. And as I tell the United nations, and I tell others, I said, look, you're not going to shop this problem through government alone, through the United nations. And through charity , it's got to be the private sector. We have got to get the American farmer, the ranchers, and had them engaged, not just better in strategic farming in the United States, but Hey, help us in these countries to end hunger and change the way agriculture is done. And there's no reason for example, Africa should feed the whole world, but Africa for certain should be feeding in Africa. And there's no reason for that not to be happening. And this is where I think the taxpayers and particularly the farmers or ranchers in America who get it, they understand it. They know what we're talking about. They know what the beauty of our planet is all about and how it can produce, and we can do it in such a way. That's good for everybody. And so I've got to have the engagement of the American farmer is critical.

Phil:

So the U S farmers ranchers in action has challenged farmers, as you are ranchers and organizational thought leaders to be leaders in action. Uh, certainly governor you exemplify what that looks like. Um, do you agree that the decade of action needs to be expanded to include a decade of agriculture?

David:

Yeah . If that's not front center, I don't know what it is because what we're facing right now with hunger crisis and supply chain dynamics, particularly as the food. And we're , you know, everybody's saying the price of the fertilizers and food going up. And so it's got to be front and center. I mean, if you don't have food and water , you know , everything else is secondary. And so the decade of agriculture, and I think a lot of young people are beginning to wake up and realize the importance and significance of agriculture. I know, I don't think I ever really appreciated the value of it. I did, but it was very limited. But seeing the global perspective, now it's a whole different worldview now and understanding how the farmers agriculture and particularly the United States in the past 100 years has come to the aid of so many regions around the world. And again, you know, as I think it arguably was Alexis de Tocqueville that said America is great because America is good. And if America ever ceases to be good America or cease to be great, well, that's not our government. That's the American people working private sector and the government NGOs changing the way we do things. So we'd be more efficient, more effective. And so we can do what, love our neighbor. That's the golden rule doing those, you'll have them, don't you. And that's , that's farming. That's agricultural how we think people. So I'm hopeful in spite of all the problems we're facing, that people go step up and , and help us in hunger. And we can't do it without agriculture being front and center field

Phil:

To your point, governor , um, you know, during the various droughts and flooding that we've had , um, on farm food facts, we've talked to a lot of different farmers and ranchers, and what comes through loud and clear is when they don't even know people that are a thousand miles away that are farmers and ranchers, they help them they'll get in their trucks. They'll , they'll go. This is a community that is probably one of the strongest communities that we've got. Um, not only in the U S but globally, and to your point, they care about the earth. They care about each other. They have mutual respect for each other. Um, and , and we need to help them as much as we can , uh, because, you know, if we don't, nobody is, and, you know, maybe on your next conversation with Musk and Bezos, you've got to tell them the next time they take a space flight to take a camera and , uh , you know, closeup cameras . So they can see how many farms, you know, are , are on the planet and which ones are working in which ones aren't working. Um, and maybe we can have some learnings from them having all these space flights.

David:

You know , I was, I was just down in Guatemala and Honduras, and while I was down there , uh, those article came out in the Washington post. I believe it was, it was , it was saying that the United States government was spending $60 million a week for shelters along the border for children. And it costs of $3,750 per child per week. Wow . When I was down there in Guatemala because of the climate shot . So they were having the flooding and just many other factors for one to $2 maximum per week, per week, we could create better agricultural opportunities working with the local farmers where people don't have to leave home. Now, what do you think? Number one, the Guatemalan doesn't want to be in a shelter. They want to be home, but if they don't have food, it doesn't matter where you are in the world. You don't have food, you will find it for your children. And so the American taxpayer, what do you think the American taxpayer would rather do spend $3,750 at a shelter or one to $2, give an agricultural support to the farmers in Guatemala or Honduras or El Salvador, Nicaragua, whatever it might be. I'm , that's not complicated. It really isn't. We've got solutions. We just need to drive it politically to be strategic in our aid and not just spinning it foolishly because I've seen from time to time again,

Phil:

And also you're then giving those populations sustainability for their lives. It's not just a one-time handout or, or a temporary fix. You're putting them, you know, in their own business of making food for their families.

David:

I was standing on the hill. In fact , it was , uh , it was where I had received that phone call about the Nobel peace prize. And I will stand on the hill where we had worked with this particular village. And this woman , uh, said misdemeanor you've helped us, but teaching us the world food program, I've 20,000 people have been out in the field. You've helped us rehabilitate the land. You told us how to do this, to capture the limited brain we do have. She said, I now own five acres of land. I'm now not only feeding my family, but I'm now feeding my village. And now I'll go buy five acres more, and I'm going to sell into the marketplace. We won't need to be there after that. I mean, this is what's the beauty, but when I came into the United nations and I've asked, I go to a country and you know, a governor likes to solve things we'd like to go in, what's it going to take to fix it so that we're not needed anymore . People are taking care of themselves. So I came in and when asked , including the us government programs, a European program to United nations programs, how long have you been in this country? And some of them would say proudly, proudly 30, 40 years. That's like, you know, maybe it's not working, maybe need to rethink what you're doing, because the people that we're working with, they really want to take care of their own family. This is about pride to them. They want to be self-sufficient. And so we need programs that support that. And how do we do that? And this is where the private sector, particularly in the agricultural community can help us solve hunger worldwide by taking these practices and walking, alongside our fellow small holder farmers in countries all over the world.

Phil:

So governor, I've got two last questions, then we're going to take some questions from reporters, both have to do with the Nobel prize. You mentioned , um, that you were there , um, when you got the phone call about the , um, the Nobel prize, and what I love is this quote that you gave to your team. You know, this is the first time in my life I've ever been speechless. You were, I was just like, wow, wow. Um, and second is on the 11th. You're going to be talking to them in Oslo. What can we expect to hear when you accept the Nobel peace prize in person and what you're going to say to the group,

David:

It's really going to be the same message. Um , I've been talking with you about in this past , uh , many minutes, it was going to be, we've got a crisis ahead of us. There's too much wealth and opportunity in the world for a single child to die. And number one, we need to get a moral compass back. The golden rule, love our neighbor, and that's critical. Number two , uh, let's reach these 45 million with $6 billion from the billionaires. Number three, we need the private sector to be engaged with not just billionaires, but farmers agriculture committee has got to be engaged in ending hunger around the world. And the last thing is, is really, you know, and love your neighbor. What , what , that's not just in Chad and that's , that's in America too. I think that's one of the things that have made our nation show a break , you know, remark regardless of your religious or cultural or political views, but love your neighbors or transcends all that. And I won't ask, people's like , you know, how about sitting down with someone that might be of a different color or a different religion or different politics, and just don't talk politics or religion, just get to know each other. And you'll begin to realize there's more in common than not. And if I think if I sit down and use food as a weapon of peace, a weapon of reconciliation, because that's why my opinion, the world food program received the Nobel peace prize was because we use food as a weapon of peace. You know what happens when you sit down with an enemy or Brava and you break bread together, you begin to resolve your differences. That's the power of food. It doesn't just feel the body, it fills the soul and really helps make a more peaceful place.

Phil:

No question. Well, let's , let's go to our reporters questions. And , um, first question, governor has social media made it easier or harder to attract wealthy donors.

David:

You know, social media has been a , uh , a positive and a negative , uh , there's so much propaganda out there today. And how do you control it? And how do you balance it out? So many people fall prey to just so much false information out there, but at the same time, it's amazing that you can get a message out , uh, like what Elon Musk and the billionaires. I had a couple of friends. I , you probably shouldn't do that. I said, no, no, I'm not going to do that because if I can get their attention, then maybe who knows what will happen. And so we've been able to use social media to bring a consciousness. Uh , I don't know what Elon Musk is going to end up doing, but the fact that he responded, whether it was sarcastic or not, that's a whole nother discussion, but it caught the attention of billionaires around the world. Hey, what's going on here? How bad is this? What can we do? And so social media is kind of a , like a knife. It could be, it could cut both ways. And I'm hoping that particularly the younger generation can figure out a way to make certain that we use social media for the, for the good of the planet and not for the division and the destruction of the planet.

Phil:

And to your point with , uh, with Musk , you've engaged them and that's step one , uh , to engage them and then sit down at the kitchen table and tell them like, it really is. Um, another question, how are you actively transferring knowledge from the U S farmers and ranchers to those on the ground in Africa and other nations who need to learn these climate smart ag techniques for self-sustaining future?

David:

Well, a multitude of ways, but one of the things that I'm now doing , uh , because like I was saying, charity, and this type of support is very good, but it's not the long-term solution. You know, obviously give a fish or teach somebody how to fish and the agricultural community globally, anybody specially in the United States. So I'm asking farmers, the agricultural community from traditional farming to ask supply systems, you have the Cargills and Yarrows et cetera around the world to come in. And this is what we're looking at now, is it come in and take ownership of hunger in this country, take your expertise in that. And that's a broad experience that includes supply chains, better seeds , better practices that are fertilizers, port issues, permitting issues, infrastructure issues. What's it going to take for this country to not need outside support. And I need for you to come in with your expertise, meet with the prime ministers and presidents, meet with the ministers of agriculture and less design systems out there in the communities that will create this sustainability we're talking about. And so I'm asking, particularly in some of the big, big, big companies that have to report to their stockholders, I get it. I'm not , I've been in banking all my life and corporate law, the whole nine yards been in business. I said, you've got to be willing to go into some of these countries and be willing to tell your shareholders that we need to be a little more, long-term make a little bit less money to invest for stability, and it will reap the benefits down the road. You're not going to get the quick return that you would hope. And a lot of our more developed industrialized nature , just so we've got to take a little bit different view , uh, and it might mean you a little bit inefficient a little bit less effective on the first few years, but it takes a while to change a culture. And if we do that, we'll end hunger and these countries, I know it because I've seen the spirit of the entrepreneurial spirit of the poorest of the poor. They have a lot to teach us. In addition, we have a lot to help them with

Phil:

Absolutely. Another question is coming in. How can you as farmers help farmers in underdeveloped areas be more efficient in farming, again, talking about that community spirit, when they themselves are struggling to implement the climate smart and soil health practices that are desperately needed in the U S right now.

David:

Yeah. I feel that this cross , I call it as critical. Uh, when I'm trying to get some of the agricultural universities, you'll be more engaged in a lot of the countries, whether it's in central America, south America, or Africa, or the middle east best practices in the agricultural community to come in together. Because, you know, with farmers, I , uh, one of my good friends was a farmer in Indiana. Like Kip, Tom. I could take a Kip , Tom. I don't know if you know, KIPP , but he ended up being the United States ambassador to the FAO, the world food program in Rome. And I could take a farmer like Kip Tom, and just laying them on the ground in the middle of nowhere in Africa. And a farmer can a very successful, productive farmer can stand right there. Just a few minutes to say, all right, I see this, this, this, this, and that type of expertise of development and practice in agriculture is what's needed. And the , these opportunities are right there before. So a farmer, I mean, there's so much that can be done and it might be helping, you know, somebody not far down the road from me, but at the same time, you know , how do we take advantage of all the success of experience from the American rancher? The American farmer feel there's a lot we can do. And I would like to see the United States government actually do more support of this. You know, how we would send like the peace Corps and fullbright scholarships. And we need to do that in agriculture. We need to be supporting the young farmers, Hey, go see what's going on and how you can take what you've learned from your dad, your granddad , your farming experience, and do these types of things. And the agriculture community. We saw what happened with peace Corps and the Fulbright type programs and things like this. And so agricultural is, there's nothing more important than that. Nothing.

Phil:

And we've got time for one more question. Um, you mentioned that the answer to addressing hunger is farmers, the ag sector, the private sector, all working together. Can you expand on this and what will this look like for us farmers and agriculture?

David:

Well, I mean, it's almost, I've kind of answered in the last couple of questions in a way, but at the same time, you know , the agricultural community in America has got to continue to speak out and they have , uh, over the years when you look, but we had surpluses and how we use those rear bushes to help communities around the world. Uh, and really it brought so much hope. And I traveled around the world. Even to this day, I'll have a prime minister of a country. You said, you know, when I was a child, I was receiving , uh , commodities. We are grains or whatever. It might be from farmers in the United States that kept me alive in the most, most difficult time. And it could be Japan or Belgium or , uh , South Korea and the here that they ended , the love they have for the American people because of our generosity. And so the American farmer needs to continue to speak out because the senators and the congressmen , they understand that they see American farmers in Kenya willing to speak out and say, we want to help the poor and needy around the world. But at the same time, we need to continue to be efficient, effective, productive, because we can take these best practices and truly cross pollinate in countries around the world. I think we've got to do more of that because that's what it's going to take. It's not just going to be government, government, government, United nations, United nations. It's going to be private sector and small holder farmers. And they might listen to government, but when they beat another farmer, this successful, you know how that is. It's like a family it's tribal, you know, you learn respect from one another. And so anyway, I could go on and on about this, but , uh, but thank you, Phil for that.

Phil:

Well, Governor on behalf of the board of US Farmers and Ranchers in action, and our CEO, Erin Fitzgerald , thank you so much for joining us. Thank you all for joining us today on this live webcast, it'll also be posted on us farmers and ranchers and actions , website, and on Facebook and governor , uh, personally. Um, I thank you for all the work that you're doing. God bless you and God bless your work.

David:

Thank you. And Erin, she is a force all of nature herself. I mean, she's a dynamo, so thank you both for what you're doing. I think sensitizing , uh , the American taxpayer , uh , the American farmer, the American rancher critical nature and the critical role that America plays in the future of the world. Uh , it's so important. And I know the heart of the American people. Like you knew if they know there's a need, they'll step up. So thank you .

Phil:

Thank you, sir. US Farmers and Ranchers inaction would like to recognize the sponsors of the 2021 Honor The Harvest forum. Our Sapphire sponsors, Ernst and young, and the United soybean board. Our platinum sponsors the innovation center for US Dairy, Native American Agriculture Fund and Kincannon & Reed. Our silver sponsors Dairy West, Nebraska Soy, Cortez Agriscience, McDonald's, Cargill and PepsiCo. Our bronze sponsors, CoBank, Nutrien and Pollination. And our copper sponsors the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Culver's, The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and Hy-Vee Supermarkets. For more about all food and agriculture, please visit usfarmersandranchers.org. Also be sure to visit us on Facebook and Instagram @farmersandranchers as well as on Twitter and LinkedIn @USFRA. Until next time.