National Laboratory Known For Environmental Technology Directing Attention On Solving Agriculture And Food Processing Problems

RICHLAND, Wash.--the earth's population is expected to surpass 6 billion near the turn of the century-and continue to expand at a rate of about 80 million annually for at least a dozen or so years thereafter.

To feed all those hungry inhabitants, the world will have to produce more food while paying even greater attention to other global issues such as natural resource management and environmental protection.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a leader in environmental and energy sciences, now is focusing its scientific and technological resources on these emerging problems of agriculture and food production.

"We have the scientific and technical expertise necessary to help bring about positive, significant changes in the way the world feeds itself," said Pacific Northwest's Doug Lemon, who heads the new Agriculture and Food Processing Initiative. "We have the right kinds of skills to help solve the problems."

In addition to increased demand for food, those problems include farming practices that contribute to environmental problems, food safety concerns and decreasing availability of land, water, energy and other resources used to produce crops.

According to Lemon, initiative activities will focus on finding ways to: enhance the stewardship of energy and environmental resources associated with agriculture and food processing increase the quantity, quality, and safety of the world's food supply improve the productivity and profitability of the agriculture and food processing industries enhance the responsiveness of industry to diverse and changing consumer needs.

"Two key areas our initiative will address are biotechnology, which can lead to healthier and more productive plants, and information technology methods that employ satellite and other technologies to help the farmer do a more efficient job of producing crops," Lemon said.

Contact: Tim Ledbetter
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

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