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Spring 2012
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Dean's Message

Dean BoorWelcome to the first issue of the redesigned magazine of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. This issue reflects more than just a change in name, from CALS News to periodiCALS. While we will certainly still provide a broad update on recent accomplishments and news, the features will offer more in-depth content focused on a central theme. CALS has a remarkably wide scope of disciplines and expertise; approaching a central idea in each issue will provide us with an opportunity to illustrate how these sometimes seemingly disparate parts actually complement and enhance one another.

In this issue, we are exploring a challenge that speaks to an aspect of our core mission: food production and supply for a global population that is forecast to reach 9 billion people–a 30-percent increase–by the year 2050. Around the globe, an expected increase in family income is predicted to result in increased demand for more and better food, such as for fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats. These demands are expected to take place while we are experiencing limits in the overall amount of fresh water and land appropriate for growing food. To meet projected local and global demands for food and fuel, we are and will continue to be pressured to evolve American agricultural technologies to further enhance production capacity while minimizing negative impacts on the environment in the context of changing climate conditions.

As Alice Pell noted in the main feature, “Going Local, on a Global Scale,” simply producing enough food to feed the world’s growing population will not be sufficient, and we will not be able to use a single approach to solve such a complicated problem. The breadth and depth of expertise at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences allow us to tackle the issue on several fronts and position us well to lead in delivering multiple solutions. Some of these solutions originate right here in Ithaca, on campus farms, in university dining halls and at community markets, as described in “Bringing Cornellians Closer to Their Food.” Alumni like the distinguished Pedro Sanchez are helping to shape solutions to world hunger, and current students are already applying their knowledge with a public purpose in Kenya, Zambia, and other places around the globe.

The goal of meeting the needs of future generations—whether across the world or across the road—makes now the time to invest in research in innovative agricultural practices. I make this statement at a moment when public investments in agricultural research are declining at local, state, and federal levels. To achieve viable agricultural systems, three key sectors must jointly support and provide broad funding for agricultural research that incorporates an understanding of true sustainability: private industry, growers’ groups, and public support from tax dollars.

I hope you enjoy this issue of the new periodiCALS. As always, I welcome your feedback and look forward to meeting more of you as I enter my third year as dean. It’s been a fantastic journey so far, and I’m very proud of all we have accomplished.

 

Kathryn J. Boor

Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences