Why is Plant Breeding Important?

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When we at Corteva Agriscience became a pure-play agriculture company in June 2019, we made a bold promise to ourselves and the world. 

We knew we had a profound opportunity to shape a new kind of business. With approximately 21,000 deeply committed employees, we envisioned a company that is passionate about enriching the lives of farmers and consumers while safeguarding the natural environments that sustain life.

We envisioned a company that is fully committed to innovating and collaborating, openly and transparently with consumers, farmers, food and agriculture associates, collaborators and stakeholders. This led us to establish a very simple but powerful purpose — to enrich the lives of those who produce and those who consume, ensuring progress for generations to come.

A big promise but a vital one.

Think about this when you sit down for dinner tonight; there are 7.8 billion people around the world who need an evening meal and over the next 30 years, that number is estimated to jump by another 2 billion people. That’s the equivalent of adding the combined population of China, Brazil and the United States to our planet. The growing global population will demand more protein (meat, dairy and plants) and better-quality grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables.

More people. More food. More pressure on our land, water and other natural resources.  Indeed, agriculture is at a crossroads. Today, plants and crops are  under stress from climate extremes such as volatility, drought and floods,  as well as diseases, pests and the impact of urban development.  At the same time, growing numbers of consumers are demanding greater varieties of healthy foods grown in an environmentally sustainable manner, and, they want to know more about where their food comes from.

The COVID-19 pandemic, meanwhile, ushered in new challenges for global food security and sustainability. While no one has a crystal ball, one thing we do know about the future of agriculture and food production is that the status quo is not an option. 

We have to double agricultural production in the next 30 years just to stay the course (according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), and do so while reducing food waste, improving distribution systems and meeting a growing global demand for nutritious food. All of this must be accomplished while protecting the land, water and natural resources that make food production possible.

The good news is that, collectively, we have the brainpower, creativity and know-how to create a more environmentally sustainable world where healthy abundant food is available to all. Today, rapid-pace advancements and innovations in plant breeding promise to improve the lives of farmers, consumers and rural communities around the world. Through our heritage companies and founders, we’ve been at the forefront of plant breeding for nearly 100 years.

Henry A. Wallace
Henry A. Wallace, the founder of Pioneer Hi-Bred in 1926
Henry A. Wallace
Henry A. Wallace, the founder of Pioneer Hi-Bred in 1926